MotoGP: Tricky first day for Camel Yamaha in Istanbul

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Round: 3 - 2006 MotoGP Turkey
Circuit: Istanbul
Date: 28 April 2006
Temp: 20ºC
Weather: Dry


Camel Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards spent the first day of practice for the Grand Prix of Turkey gathering important set-up data after encountering different track conditions to those they enjoyed here season. With this year's event taking place some six months earlier than the inaugural race here last October, overcast skies contributed to cool ambient temperatures of 20ºC and produced low grip levels on track, where Nicky Hayden (Honda) set the free practice pace with a best lap of 1'53.623.

Rossi adapted swiftly to the conditions in the morning and set the third fastest time of the opening practice, but he struggled to make any significant improvements in the afternoon and ended up eleventh on the overall time sheets. Edwards, meanwhile, was sixth fastest in both sessions - improving his lap time in the afternoon by 1.4 seconds. With plenty of work still to do the only worry for the riders now is the threat of rain, with dark clouds hovering over the circuit and local forecasts predicting a downfall tomorrow.

Colin Edwards (1'54.042, 38 laps)

"We started out with the base setting from Qatar but it didn't work very well for us here. Basically we then decided to go with a newer front tyre than the one we've been using in testing and it went much better. Combined with a few tweaks to the suspension I built up my confidence in the front and I was able to lay down some good lap times. In the end we put a pretty consistent run together and I'm happy. We're still getting some vibrations but it's only in a couple of corners and we can work around them with more time on the bike tomorrow; hopefully it will stay dry. The track was really dirty this morning but it started to clean up in the afternoon. If it stays dry then the grip should improve as the weekend goes on, but they're saying it might rain so I guess we'll have to wait and see."

Valentino Rossi (1'54.662, 43 laps)

"This morning we were fast straight away and this was quite encouraging. We were third and we thought that we would be able to continue in this way during the afternoon. However we made some modifications in order to improve the acceleration and unfortunately we lost a lot of grip in braking. In fact our lap times were more or less the same in the afternoon but the track was about half a second faster - this morning it was quite dirty - and now we are in 11th place. I am a bit worried but also quite positive because we made some changes at the end of the session, back towards this morning's settings, and we improved a lot and set our fastest lap of the day. So far we don't have any vibration and so we hope that it won't appear tomorrow if the grip improves."

Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director

"In the morning things went well for Valentino and in the afternoon they went well for Colin so you could say we had a balanced day! The good news is that we have been able to work as we would on a normal weekend, without the distractions caused by the problems we experienced in the first race. We collected a lot of good information today that we can put to use tomorrow and find a way forward with the set-up of the bikes. The only question mark is the rain so the only thing we ask for is at least a few dry laps so that we can evaluate the solutions we come up with tonight. Valentino lost his feeling a little bit this afternoon but we will compare the data from the whole day and find the best way to work tomorrow."

Opening day brings highs and lows for Tech 3 Yamaha Team in Turkey

The opening day of the third Grand Prix of 2006 at the sensational Istanbul Park circuit proved challenging for Tech 3 Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and James Ellison, and the pair finished the day 16th and 17th respectively after the two Free Practice sessions.

Despite some set-up troubles, both riders however found some positive aspects from the day and Checa is happy to be almost fully fit again after an injury affected the start of his campaign. The Spaniard is now in a determined frame of mind to get back to the sterling performances he exhibited in pre-season testing. Ellison, meanwhile, showed that he is becoming more comfortable with the Yamaha YZR-M1 as his times get closer to his more experienced team-mate at every outing.

Carlos Checa (1'56.838, 42 laps)

"Today wasn't the best day. We've been testing the front tyres for a different setting but nothing seems to make a big difference to our times. Hopefully we will find a good direction for tomorrow, especially in the fast areas of the track. We are having a bit of trouble with the grip from the rear, but it seems to be the same for everyone. The Dunlop people are working hard to give us what we desire and every race the tyres are improving. It is only early in the season so I believe it won't be too long before we are a lot closer. I am confident working with Dunlop and hopefully we can get better tyres as soon as possible. My shoulder has improved so much since Qatar which is encouraging, although I still do not have full strength, especially under hard braking."

James Ellison (1'56.943, 40 laps)

"Today hasn't been too bad to be honest, although it hasn't been as good as we had hoped. We have made steady progress as we're tweaking things here and there. It's a completely different circuit to Qatar so we have a lot to work on but we'll make a few changes to improve the balance. I love this circuit. It is one of my favourite tracks, along with Laguna Seca and Phillip Island, so that helps when it comes to getting things done. With the layout, it has a bit of everything - especially the fast right hander. Doing nearly 300km/h with your knee on the deck and the bike moving underneath you is something very special. Hopefully tomorrow we can make some more progress with our race set-up and set some faster times."

Herve Poncharal - Tech 3 Yamaha Team Director

"Today was not easy in places. The position on the sheets isn't too important but we have to find some solutions. Carlos has almost recovered from the physical problem at Qatar with his left shoulder, which is encouraging, but we're still not at our full potential. We are quite happy with what is happening with Dunlop and they are working hard. They are listening and bringing new products to every race but at the end of the day we are fighting with two other brands that have been here much, much longer than Dunlop. There are also a lot more riders that can give them feedback and more data to work with. We knew this before we started the season, but we have confidence in Dunlop's capacity. It is only the third race and they have come from nowhere in MotoGP because it the first year for them with a factory machine. We are really not that far away and we will continue fighting. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully we will be in a better position for the race, come Sunday."


Round: 3 - 2006 MotoGP Turkey
Circuit: Istanbul
Circuit Length: 5378
Lap Record: 1' 53.111 (Marco Melandri, 2005)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 52.334 (Sete Gibernau, 2005)
Date: 28 April 2006
Temp: 20ºC

Session 1:
Pos. Rider Manufacturer Nat. 1st Qualifying
1 N. Hayden Honda USA 1' 53.623
2 C. Stoner Honda AUS 1' 53.861
3 M. Melandri Honda ITA 1' 53.971
4 D. Pedrosa Honda ESP 1' 54.001
5 T. Elias Honda ESP 1' 54.022
6 C. Edwards Yamaha USA 1' 54.042
7 L. Capirossi Ducati ITA 1' 54.055
8 J. Hopkins Suzuki USA 1' 54.277
9 S. Gibernau Ducati ESP 1' 54.279
10 M. Tamada Honda JPN 1' 54.422
11 V. Rossi Yamaha ITA 1' 54.662
12 C. Vermeulen Suzuki AUS 1' 54.722
13 S. Nakano Kawasaki JPN 1' 54.967
14 K. Roberts Team Roberts KR USA 1' 55.179
15 R. De Puniet Kawasaki FRA 1' 55.700
16 C. Checa Yamaha ESP 1' 56.838
17 J. Ellison Yamaha GBR 1' 56.943