News 29 Aug 2009

MotoGP: Rossi and Lorenzo in top five for Yamaha at Indy


Hot and humid weather gave way to heavy rain at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon, bringing back memories of last year’s hurricane-struck race as the riders splashed through puddles of standing water. Today’s bad weather looks like being a one-off however and the forecast for the rest of the weekend looks much better. The Fiat Yamaha pair of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, who has just signed a one-year extension to his current deal with Yamaha, finished the day in third and fourth respectively.

Rossi chose to sit out the first twenty minutes of the session in order to save mileage on his engine and only ventured out once the track was fully wet. The victor in last year’s storm, he was one of the fastest in the later stages on the soaking track and moved into third position on his final lap of the session, three tenths off Dani Pedrosa at the top.

Lorenzo gained his first ever wet-weather podium here last year and was happy to find that he felt just as confident this time around in the wet on his YZR-M1, continuing to set consistently fast laps throughout the soaking session and finishing under a tenth off the time of his team-mate. The 22-year-old is sporting a one-off ‘Captain America’ helmet here, inspired by the famous comic-book hero.

Valentino Rossi
Position: 3rd Time: 1’51.814 Laps: 16

“I sat out the first twenty minutes in order to save the engine mileage and by the time I went out it was very wet. Unfortunately the track wasn’t draining so well where there is new asphalt and in some corners it was quite dangerous with standing water and a risk of aquaplaning. This weather was unlucky but it wasn’t such a bad session and our pace and setting in the wet was quite good. We were able to improve the balance of the bike and if the conditions are like this again then we have some ideas to improve further. Luckily however it looks like the weather will be much better and so tomorrow we will start again from zero in the dry!”

Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 4th Time: 1’51.894 Laps: 23

“This track has three kinds of asphalt and in some places the bikes looked like they were at sea! The riding style was very complicated to get right today, above all in the first two sectors, but anyway I’m quite happy, especially because this is my first start after confirming that I’ll stay with Yamaha next year and I’m proud to be here. I felt quite confident today even in the bad weather but hopefully tomorrow the sun will shine and we can see where we are in the dry.”

Davide Brivio
Team Manager

“We did a few laps today because you never know what can happen with the weather and even though the forecast is good for the rest of the weekend, we need to be prepared for anything. We were strong in the wet today with Valentino finishing near the top so it was a useful session, but hopefully we won’t need this data for the race. Our real work should start tomorrow, hopefully in the sunshine!”

Daniele Romagnoli
Team Manager

“Unfortunately today the rain got in the way of our plans and it was a slightly difficult first session in some areas, especially in the first two splits where there was a lot of water on the track. Overall however it was a useful day and we will be ready in case it does rain over the rest of the weekend. Now we’re looking forward to seeing how we are in the dry tomorrow.”

James Toseland produced a skilful display of wet weather riding at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, the British rider a hugely encouraging sixth quickest in a rain-lashed first MotoGP practice session.

The 28-year-old quickly mastered treacherous conditions and varying grip levels to occupy a top three place for much of the opening half of the session as round 12 of the 2009 MotoGP world championship started under grey and gloomy skies at the historic Indy circuit.

Using a new softer wet weather suspension setting on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine, Toseland was as high as second position before he finished in an e ncouraging sixth place.

His best time of 1.52.888 was just over 1.3s away from Dani Pedrosa’s best pace and 0.240s quicker than team-mate Edwards.

Making a solid and steady start to his second home race in less than three months, Texan Edwards grew in confidence and a best lap of 1.53.128 in the final stages secured him eighth position

Edwards is bidding for an incredible 20th successive points-scoring finish in Sunday’s 28-lap race and will be boosted by forecasts for much more favourable weather conditions over the remainder of the weekend.

James Toseland 6th 1.52.588 – 18 laps

“I’m really happy with that session and it was definitely the positive way I wanted to start the weekend. For most of the session I was running in the top four or higher once I’d built up my confi dence after the first few laps. I went with a wet setting that was a bit softer than usual and it worked really well and gave me a lot of confidence with the front-end. I could really push in the places where you could make up a bit of time and that helped me a lot. This track is really strange in the wet with the different sections of tarmac. Some places it can seem really dangerous with a lot of standing water and in another part the grip is phenomenal and it feels so good you can almost push like you’re riding in the dry. Some sections of the track are so good in the wet it’s better than Assen, and that was always the best track for grip in the wet. At times it almost feels like you are going from a wet to a dry track. You need to have a compromise with the setting because of that but my team did a great job today with the soft setting and if we get some more bad weather we look in really good shape. Hopefully it will be dry and we can put on a good show for the Indy fans .”

Colin Edwards 8th 1.53.128 – 22 laps

“I can’t believe we waited a whole year to come back to this amazing venue after what happened with the weather in 2008 and it ends up raining again. Hopefully for tomorrow we’ll get a dry track and also on Sunday so the fans will get to see MotoGP at its best. This place really freaks me out because some sections of the track look really slippery. But in reality there is so much grip that you can ride almost like it’s dry. You can be so aggressive in some parts that at the start you have to convince yourself just how hard you can push. The track is so wet it looks like a mirror but that’s where you can really attack with such good grip. You just have to take bigger bites each lap and how fast you go depends if you hit some of the standing water on the new sections. Thankfully the forecast is for dry weather for the rest of the weekend, b ut if it changes I’m sure we’ve got a really good wet setting and we definitely learned some things that will help for the future.”