First day / GAULOISES YAMAHA RIDERS IN A SPIN AT TWISTY SACHSENRING
Gauloises Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards both struggled to get comfortable at the Sachsenring circuit as the first free practice sessions for the German Grand Prix took place today. Rossi fell for only the second time this season in the morning session, losing front grip in the downhill, left-hand corner at turn two, but escaped without injury. Despite returning to the track with an improved time in the afternoon the Italian could only manage the thirteenth fastest lap on the day’s combined time sheets, as he struggled to find front and rear grip for his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.
Edwards got off to a better start than his Gauloises Yamaha team-mate, setting the third fastest time of the morning session, before suffering similar difficulties in the afternoon. The American found it hard to make progress as he tried to tame the track’s notoriously twisty turns and was unable to improve his lap times from the morning to the afternoon, dropping to ninth on the overnight time sheets. Alex Barros (Honda) set the fastest time of the day with a lap of 1’23.808, despite crashing twice in the space of just fifteen minutes in the second session.
COLIN EDWARDS (9th – 1’24.320; 55 laps)
“We tried a few different things in the afternoon but we’ve basically been having the same problem all day; we just can’t get the bike to stop being so nervous. We need to start driving forward instead of wiggling around and it looks like it’s going to take a lot of work. It doesn’t seem to be a simple set-up issue – I’ve spoken to Valentino and he is having the same problems, so to me it seems the bike doesn’t like this track in general. The Yamaha turns so well that the tight sections in the first two splits are great, but once the track opens out in the second half it just gets very bumpy on the exit of the corners and the bike starts dancing around. From there it’s a case of trying to hold on and ride smoother, but then that feels too slow. I’m not going to lie; it’s a handful, but we’re working on it.”
VALENTINO ROSSI (13th – 1’24.508; 52 laps)
“It was a very difficult day. It started from the morning when I fell off the bike and after that we worked a lot to try and improve the feeling, but at the end of the day it wasn’t any better. We started with the setting from Donington but we had a problem with the front. Also it is really hard to find the right tyre because there is so much time spent on the left side and it gets so hot, which means you slide a lot. I can’t ride the bike at 100% and Colin has some problems too. I am a little bit worried because I am in thirteenth place, but I am sure that tomorrow we can work really hard and find a good way forward. This really is a bad track for me – I don’t like it. It is different to the other tracks and we need to work hard to get the right set-up.”
DAVIDE BRIVIO – GAULOISES YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
“It was a difficult day and we have to find some ideas to improve the setting. Both riders are having the same problems – we will find out more from them later but it is clear we need to adjust some things. We have had difficulties on Fridays in the past but the team always found a way to solve the problems, so I am confident they can do the same here. Valentino’s crash this morning was his first real one of the season and the guys worked really well through lunchtime to fix the bike, so a big ‘thank you’ to them. There is a lot more work ahead of them tonight but I am hopeful we can get out of this.”