Both Edwards and his team-mate, Valentino Rossi, again took advantage of the excellent base set-up they have found in recent tests with the Yamaha YZR-M1 machine, setting the pace in this morning’s opening free practice session with the first and second fastest times respectively. As temperatures rose in the afternoon by 10ºC, with 34ºC recorded on the recently-laid track surface, Edwards was again on the pace and was only denied the fastest time of the day by a late raid from Marco Melandri and Makoto Tamada (both Honda), with Melandri clocking the fastest lap in a time of 1’43.317. Rossi was one of several riders unable to improve their times in the second session as he struggled for front-end grip in the afternoon sunshine. With several riders crashing out in some of the fastest corners on the Montmeló track, the reigning MotoGP World Champion and current series leader decided to save his best efforts until tomorrow’s qualifying session, although his morning time was enough to seal fifth place on the combined time sheets overnight.
COLIN EDWARDS – (1’43.467, 53 laps)
“It’s almost as if Mugello never happened and we have come straight from Le Mans to Barcelona! We know how the bike should work for me and, even though the setting is very different to what we had in the test here because the bike has evolved so much, we dialled some things in that felt right as soon as I took it onto the track this morning. In the afternoon we made some adjustments to the suspension and general setting. I went out and did a 15-lap endurance test for Michelin at the start of the session on a hard compound, which gave us a lot of information, and I put on something a little softer at the end which was good for six or seven tenths - so we know which way we’re going. We made a good start at Mugello and didn’t make much progress from there but I’m confident that won’t happen here because the feeling with the bike is already so much better.”
VALENTINO ROSSI (1’43.652, 45 laps)
“We made a very good start to the day this morning but in the afternoon I had a few problems with front grip. I didn’t have the stability I wanted in the corners and this meant that I wasn’t able to push as hard as I would like. The new track surface is very different and the conditions changed a lot with the extra heat from the morning to the afternoon. A few riders were crashing out so I decided not to push too hard because the important day is tomorrow and, of course, Sunday. We have some work to do on the front end but in general the bike setting is getting better and better so we hope to continue tomorrow.”
DAVIDE BRIVIO – TEAM DIRECTOR
“This morning started off very well, with both riders at the top, and the afternoon was not so bad, although it took us a while to get up to speed. Valentino had some delays today but he is making the necessary adjustments to the bike setting. It was a very good day for Colin, who kept up a high pace and completed a good endurance test in the afternoon. I’m very happy for him because we had a long chat after Mugello and decided to put it behind us and start over again this weekend. Hopefully he can continue in the same way on Saturday and Sunday!”