MotoGP: Rossi makes perfect start at Jerez

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Round: 1 - 2006 MotoGP Jerez
Circuit: Jerez
Date: 24 March 2006
Temp: 20° C
Weather: Dry

Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi kicked off his MotoGP World Championship defence in fine style today, setting the fastest lap time in the first free practice sessions for the opening round of the 2006 season at Jerez. After light rain showers hit the track this morning, when Rossi decided not to ride and his team-mate Colin Edwards put in just two laps, both riders were able to work without interruption in the afternoon as they aimed to iron out set-up difficulties encountered in recent pre-season tests at this circuit.

Whilst Rossi was able to overcome the majority of his problems, immediately finding the right direction to work with the team's engineers and technicians, Edwards suffered a minor setback today but he is confident that he can recover lost ground in tomorrow morning's final free practice before the crucial afternoon qualifying session. The American clocked the seventh fastest time today as Loris Capirossi (Ducati) produced the strongest challenge to Rossi's dominance, lapping 0.012 seconds slower than his Italian compatriot.

Valentino Rossi (1'41.613, 24 laps)

"We haven't fixed everything just yet but the Yamaha engineers came up with a few ideas to solve the vibrations we suffered during the test and they all worked. So far we have come up with a setting that allows me to ride in a better way to control the bike and, even though we still have some small vibrations, it is giving us less problems. This is the perfect way to start the season and I am really happy with the way the team have worked. This afternoon the track conditions were still not perfect so the times weren't so fast, but I think tomorrow it will be better. Tomorrow we have to keep working hard to come up with some more solutions and I am sure we will be in good shape for the race. There is already a good atmosphere and I can't wait until Sunday!"

Colin Edwards (1'42.266, 28 laps)

"To be honest things didn't go as we would have wished today. After losing an hour this morning because of the weather we missed out on another 45 minutes in the afternoon. I felt something was wrong but it took a long time for us to work it out. Basically there was too much pressure in the tyre and once we realised that we were able to start working properly - unfortunately it was a bit too late to be reflected in the lap times. Looking across the garage we can see that the engineers have got some really good data that will definitely help us tomorrow to refine the set-up and sort out some of the problems we had in the test. It will be two important hours but I have full confidence in the job the team is doing."

Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director

"It looks like we are making improvements and moving in the right direction, which is very encouraging at this early stage of the weekend. We lost this morning's session to the weather but I have to say that the engineers and the technicians made the most of the available time to make the first adjustments to the bikes. Both riders have done a different job today, and our team has great cooperation so now we can put all this information together and find the best way forward for both riders tomorrow morning. Hopefully the bad weather is now out of the way for the rest of the weekend."

Free Practice Results MotoGP

Round: 1 - 2006 MotoGP Jerez
Circuit: Jerez
Circuit Length: 4423
Lap Record: 1' 40.596 (Valentino Rossi, 2005)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 39.419 (Valentino Rossi, 2005)
Date: 24 March 2006
Temp: 20° C

Free Practice:

Pos.   Rider         Manufacturer     Nat.  Free Practice
 1     V. Rossi      Yamaha           ITA   1' 41.613
 2     L. Capirossi  Ducati           ITA   1' 41.625
 3     D. Pedrosa    Honda            ESP   1' 41.798
 4     S. Gibernau   Ducati           ESP   1' 41.798
 5     S. Nakano     Kawasaki         JPN   1' 41.939
 6     M. Melandri   Honda            ITA   1' 42.108
 7     C. Edwards    Yamaha           USA   1' 42.266 
 8     N. Hayden     Honda            USA   1' 42.276
 9     R. De Puniet  Kawasaki         FRA   1' 42.455
10     T. Elias      Honda            ESP   1' 42.518
11     K. Roberts    Team Roberts KR  USA   1' 42.538
12     C. Stoner     Honda            AUS   1' 42.552
13     C. Checa      Yamaha           ESP   1' 42.608
14     J. Hopkins    Suzuki           USA   1' 42.727
15     M. Tamada     Honda            JPN   1' 42.868
16     J. Ellison    Yamaha           GBR   1' 45.239