Just a couple of days after the dramatic finale to his rollercoaster season, Valentino Rossi was back out on track in Valencia yesterday and today, already thinking about next season’s revenge as he got to grips with Yamaha’s new 800cc motorcycle. After the final race of the 990cc era on Sunday, most of his MotoGP rivals were also out on their new bikes as the teams began the long winter of testing in the build-up to the first race next March.
Having only ridden the Yamaha 800cc bike briefly on two previous occasions, this test was the first chance for Rossi and his team to assess it in detail and really begin to work on its development. They concentrated on a variety of different set-ups throughout the test with the aim of gathering as much data as possible to aid the Yamaha engineers in their task. Discounting some times from riders who chose to start off on their 990 bikes, which included Rossi for some laps yesterday, the Italian set the seventh fastest lap time of the 800s overall with a time of 1’33.10 yesterday.
Rossi’s team-mate Colin Edwards will get his first taste of the new bike at Sepang in two weeks time before both riders head to Jerez together for the final test of the year at the end of the month.
“It was really good to have two days to rest after such a sad day on Sunday and I’m already feeling much better, in fact I wish the season started in two weeks time! We actually started off the test by doing some laps on the old 990cc bike as we wanted to have one more go at understanding why we lost! Then it was time to finally put it all behind us and get on with the new campaign. It’s been great to be able to try the new bike straight away, when the 990 is still fresh in my mind, as it’s easy to compare and understand the differences. Our bike is already quite good; it’s at a good level for this early stage of development. This is the third time I’ve ridden it and it’s got better each time because they’ve been working hard in Japan. They haven’t made so many big changes yet, just small things like the engine setting, but already it’s a bit faster. Yesterday we were fastest, which was exciting, but today we’ve been trying some different things and we were quite a lot slower. Anyway I’m not worried about that, the most important thing at the moment is to get as much information as possible and really start to understand and get to know the bike. This has been a useful test, I’m already feeling very motivated about the new bike and I am sure that next time I ride it in Jerez it will be even better!”.
Davide Brivio – Camel Yamaha Team Director
“It was nice to start the 2007 season straight away and not to dwell on the past and this has been a very important test for us with our new 800cc bike. Yesterday Valentino was quite fast which was encouraging. Today we worked on some different things and so he was a bit slower, but at this stage all this information is extremely useful in order to help develop the bike for the next test. Next Colin will have his chance to try the bike and give his opinion and this will also be very important for our engineers. It’s been interesting for us to have a look at our competitors here this week; everyone is already fast so it’s clearly going to be another hard and competitive season and we know we’re all going to have to work very hard through the winter!”