MotoGP Rnd 1 Jerez Preview
Yamaha Press release
Camel Yamaha Team ready to begin title defence at Jerez
Circuito de Jerez, Jerez
The Camel Yamaha Team returns to southern Spain next weekend to begin the
defence of its MotoGP World Championship titles. With Valentino Rossi taking the
riders' crown for the fifth successive season, adding to both the team and
manufacturers' titles in the year of Yamaha's 50th Anniversary, the factory
outfit faces a tough challenge to live up to its 2005 success but the team is
approaching the new campaign with optimism and fresh motivation.
This will be the 20th consecutive Grand Prix at Jerez since the circuit was
first used in 1987 - Assen and Donington are the only other current venues
boasting a longer association with the series - and this year's opening round
sees Rossi hunting for his seventh win there in all classes. Victory next Sunday
would be his fifth in the premier-class and make him the most successful MotoGP
rider ever at Jerez; with one more win than the legendary Mick Doohan.
Colin Edwards has enjoyed limited success at the Andalucian track since racing
there for the first time in 2003. His best result is a seventh-place finish two
years ago but an encouraging pre-season with the 2006 version YZR-M1 has given
the 'Texas Tornado' realistic hopes of producing his best form this time around.
Valentino Rossi: New arrivals and new rivals
Valentino Rossi defends his MotoGP title from a host of new riders this year
after an influx of young talent from the 250cc and World Superbike categories.
Dani Pedrosa (Honda), Casey Stoner (Honda), Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki) and Chris
Vermeulen (Suzuki) have all demonstrated rapid progress during the pre-season
tests and Rossi is looking forward to the fresh challenges they will present.
"This year my main rivals have changed and the average age is much younger, so I
will have to work out their strengths and weaknesses," said Rossi. "I have
watched the career of Dani Pedrosa very closely since he was in 125cc and I have
always been impressed by him and I expect him to be strong from the first race.
Besides him, there are many different riders, manufacturers and teams that have
been fast at different times throughout the pre-season so I hope that we can
have some really good battles for the fans!"
If Rossi needs further motivation to open his fifth consecutive title defence
with a victory, he has the added target of protecting an impressive record of
opening-round successes in recent years. The Italian has been victorious in
round one of each of the last five seasons, all of which have ended with
championship success, but he says that work must be done to improve the
performance of his 2006-specification YZR-M1 at Jerez after recent tests at the
"We need to find more grip when the tyre is on the side," he explains. "At the
test our speed in the corner was down considerably in some places so, where we
usually have an advantage with the Yamaha, we were behind. Anyway, now the
Yamaha engineers understand what has happened and they have a lot of data and
information to fix it for the race. I have confidence in them, in Jeremy Burgess
and in Michelin and I know that when we can use our bike at 100%, as we showed
in Barcelona, it is the best bike on the grid. I love racing in Spain and I have
many fans there, so I always look forward to the race in Jerez!"
Colin Edwards: Driving towards success
Colin Edwards is entering his second season with Yamaha, the first for him in
MotoGP without a switch of team and bike during the winter. Lengthy pre-season
tests, as well as valuable data gathered last year, have given the American a
crucial platform for the new campaign - as evidenced by his form at the Official
Test in Barcelona two weeks ago when he set the fastest time in the 'Qualifying'
practice and drove away with the prize of a new car.
"It's been a pretty intense few months testing and I am really happy that we've
finally made it to the first race - this is where the fun starts!" smiled
Edwards. "The great result at the Barcelona Test was a massive confidence boost
to me and a validation of all the hard work that everyone's put in, but we have
to use it as a trampoline to bigger and better things. As everyone knows, we had
a bit of a setback at the Jerez test but I've said from the first time I rode
the new M1 that it's a great bike and pretty much better in every way to the old
one, so I have confidence that we will be okay come the race.
"Jerez is a great race, it's a fantastic place to kick off the season and the
atmosphere is always something special. As for the season in general, I have
said that I am ready to win races and I stand by that. Of course, I've got to
beat my team-mate and that's the hardest part! This is the first time in MotoGP
that I've begun the season on the same bike and with the same team so I'm way
ahead of where I have been every other year. I'm really looking forward to the
Davide Brivio: Motivated and excited
Camel Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio has enjoyed a busy winter, with new
title-sponsor Camel coming on board as well as an intense pre-season testing
schedule in Malaysia and Qatar. The Italian has been pleased with the form shown
by his riders despite recent problems at Jerez and says he is expecting another
exciting and successful season.
"Our winter programme went quite well, apart from the most recent session at
Jerez when we faced a few problems," admits Brivio. "We weren't able to use the
bike to its full potential but, thankfully, that was only a test and we were
able to collect a lot of data that will be useful to us as we try to iron out
those problems for the race. We have some ideas so hopefully they will turn into
solutions on Friday morning. In any case we are very aware that this is just the
first race of seventeen and it will be another long season.
"As far as the team is concerned I would say they are even more motivated than
last season. Obviously Valentino wants to win the title again and Colin is also
very happy with the way the bike has performed in the winter. It is his second
year in the team and we all want to take advantage of that. I would say that
altogether the team is motivated, excited and very much looking forward to the
start of the new season next weekend."
Technically speaking: Daniele Romagnoli on Jerez
With few hard braking points and little opportunity to fully open the throttle,
the key to Jerez is about the rider's skill in picking the most effective racing
line. The 4.423km track features five left and eight right hand corners with
regular and quick changes in direction, meaning that the rider requires a
responsive overall package and, above all, precise chassis set-up.
"The most important and difficult aspect of set-up at Jerez is the chassis,"
explains Daniele Romagnoli, Chief Mechanic to Colin Edwards. "It is a particular
circuit because the bike spends a lot of time at maximum lean and there are very
few points that require maximum throttle, so the engine and the gearbox settings
are not as important here as they are at other tracks. There are many high-speed
corners with fast entry so the chassis has to be good, as do the suspension and
the tyres. The riders need good grip at maximum lean so we work on the weight
balance, spring rates and finding a good tyre."
Valentino Rossi: Information
Lives: London, UK
Bike: Yamaha YZR-M1
GP victories: 81 (42 x MotoGP, 13 x 500cc, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Czech Republic, 1996 (125cc)
First GP: Malaysia, 1996 (125cc)
GP starts: 157 (65 x MotoGP, 32 x 500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 40
World Championships - 7 Grand Prix (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 4 x MotoGP)
Colin Edwards: Information
Lives: Conroe, Texas
Bike: Yamaha YZR-M1
First GP: Japan, 2003 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 49 x MotoGP
World Championships - 2 World Superbike