News 4 Jul 2009

MotoGP: Yamaha's Rossi and Lorenzo on top again in the U.S.

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The Devil’s Rejects

The first of two American races this season got underway for MotoGP at Laguna Seca today with a strong showing from the Fiat Yamaha Team pairing of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, who finished first and second respectively. The spectacular Californian track was bathed in sunshine throughout the day and the riders took full advantage to begin refining their set-ups to suit the tricky nature of the 3.601 km track.

Rossi won in spectacular fashion here last year and he looked immediately comfortable out on track, lapping consistently in the top three aboard his M1 and Bridgestone tyres. Lorenzo meanwhile, who did not complete the race here last year on his Laguna debut, proved lack of track experience was no barrier to fast lap times and spent most of the session in second before setting a brilliant lap with 11 minutes to go and moving into first. He looked to have the practice sewn up until his championship-leading team-mate sneaked ahead on his final lap, bettering the Spaniard’s lap time by just one tenth of a second.

Valentino Rossi
Position: 1st Time: 1’21.981 Laps: 32

“I am happy with the session today, it was a good performance and at the end, with the harder tyre, we did an especially good job and I was able to make the best time. We got a lot of data about the track, which we will use tomorrow in order to improve things further. We need to work a bit to improve the front feeling because we can still make the bike a bit easier to ride in one or two corners and then we will also look at the electronics in order to control the wheelie, because there are a lot of bumps and jumps on this circuit. Once again me, Lorenzo and Stoner are very close so we can expect another big fight this weekend, but we are confident that our M1 is working well.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 2nd Time: 1’22.093 Laps: 38

“I was very fast today and I feel good here at this track in the California sunshine! I know that this is a very complicated circuit to get used to and that you have to make a lot of laps to learn it, but I did have some time on it last year and I feel great here now. Today I stopped after a few laps and changed the tyre to the harder Bridgestone one and then I felt even better; I was having a lot of fun riding the bike and I was able to do more or less race distance with consistent lap times. We will work on further improving our setting tomorrow and I hope that I can continue in the same way again.”

Davide Brivio
Team Manager

“Another good start to a weekend! Valentino’s lap times are already good and it’s certainly a much better first day than we had here last year! As usual after this first practice there are one or two small areas that we can improve so we will work tomorrow to fine tune everything further. However we’ve made a strong start and our base is working well so we are feeling confident.”

Ramon Forcada
Crew Chief

“Unfortunately our Team Manager Daniele Romagnoli can’t be with us this weekend as he has had to return to Italy to be with his father, who is unwell. We wish him our best at this time. As for today, Jorge made a good start and our base setting is working very well here – we didn’t have to change anything during the session. We tried both types of front and rear tyres in order to compare and we already have quite a clear idea for the race, so it just remains to confirm that tomorrow. We need to work a little bit on the electronics now but overall we’re in good shape.”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team duo Colin Edwards and James Toseland are confident they can make big improvements in Laguna Seca after an encouraging start to the American Grand Prix this afternoon.

Home favourite Edwards and British rider Toseland were both challenging for the top five in the early stages of a session run in gloriously sunny California conditions.
Brimming with confidence after equalling his best result of the season with fourth place in Assen just six days ago, Edwards eventually finished ninth with a best time of 1.23.285.

Looking to score his 100th point-scoring Grand Prix finish in Sunday’s 32-lap clash, Edwards is confident he can drastically improve his pace having encountered some front and rear suspension issues today. The 35-year-old though was only 0.6s away from fourth place.

Boosted by his season best sixth place in Assen last weekend, Toseland finished in 13th place with a best time of 1.23.690s, though he was less than a second off sixth in another close session.

With Fiat Yamaha Team Director Masahiko Nakajima again helping the 28-year-old this weekend, Toseland will work hard with his team tonight to find a setting to improve rear grip ahead of title sponsor Monster’s all-important home race on Sunday.

Colin Edwards 9th 1.23.285 – 29 laps
“It wasn’t the great start to my home race I was looking for and the bike feels just way too stiff. The main problem is in the hard braking because I’ve no feeling with the bike bouncing around on me. There’s just not enough movement from the suspension. When you’ve got the handlebars moving and up and down and the seat moving up and down it’s obvious the suspension is not absorbing the bumps enough. There are some huge bumps out there and today it felt a bit like motocross. So we’ll soften it up for tomorrow and make the suspension react faster and let it move more freely rather than having a jerky and bouncing sensation. It feels like there’s a second waiting right in front of me but I’m a bit handcuffed at the moment. Once we fix these issues, and I know we will because my guys at Tech 3 are awesome, I’m not going to have to push and hang it out to find the time. I know it will come immediately as soon as we get the bike working. I’m confident we can find what we ne ed and put on a good show for the American fans and for Monster’s home race.”

James Toseland 13th 1.23.690 – 31 laps
“The position isn’t that great but I feel like it was a pretty decent session. We’ve got a bit of work to do but there is no need to panic. We’re just missing a bit on the set-up really. I’m lacking a bit of edge grip on the harder rear tyre, and that is the one we’re going to have to race with looking at the temperature. This track isn’t quite as good for grip as Assen and we know what we’ve got to do to get more grip from the rear but we just ran out of time at the end of the session. And I’m still adapting to the new set-up we had in Assen because that changed the balance of the bike quite a lot. With the tighter corners and the undulation it just takes a bit of getting used to being so different to Assen. I’m confident with the bike a bit more comfortable that I can go quite a bit faster and be up there challenging for a good result for Monster in what is a massive race for our sponsor.”Young Adam move

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