MotoGP: Yamaha Teams Struggle with the Wet during Le Mans Practice

The weather in Le Mans was true to form today, with the first day of practice for the French Grand Prix interrupted by rain. Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, who were part of an all-Yamaha podium at this race last year, completed the session in sixth and seventh places respectively.From this race onwards all practice sessions will last for one hour, as in previous years, which will give the riders an extra 45 minutes of track time across the three sessions. With about fifteen minutes of today’s hour lost to the rain however this made no difference and the Fiat Yamaha pair are hoping for a little French sunshine tomorrow so they can make more headway with their settings. Both riders had used the rain break to make some modifications and were hoping to get a few more dry laps in at the end, but it began to spit with rain again after a lap and that spelt the end of today’s track time.

Fastest man on the track this afternoon was Andrea Dovizioso with Rossi 0.615 seconds off him with a time of 1’36.751, set just before the rain came, and Lorenzo a further 0.273 seconds adrift of his team-mate.

Valentino Rossi – Position: 6thTime: 1’36.751Laps: 18
“We always seem to have bad luck with the weather here! The conditions weren’t easy today, it was quite cold and the track wasn’t so good, and then it rained and so we couldn’t use all of the session. It was still useful to get some laps done in the dry though, even if we couldn’t learn as much as we would have liked to today. Every lap has it’s own small problems and during the first rain break we made some modifications to our setting and actually I was quite confident that we were on the right track. We hoped to get a few more laps before the end of the session once the rain stopped but unfortunately it started again and so we had no real chance to check our work. We know we’re fast in the rain but I prefer it dry‚Ķthe problem is that you never know with Le Mans, the weather seems to change every five minutes!”

Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 7thTime: 1’37.024Laps: 19
“It’s a pity about the rain because we needed the time today, but this is the situation so we have to deal with it. I just hope it doesn’t continue. At least we had some dry track time but the situation of the track wasn’t so good and I was quite slow. We need time at each circuit to learn how our bike works with the Bridgestone tyres and we didn’t really have enough time today, but we will keep trying tomorrow and hopefully we can improve our pace.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“Luckily we had 30 minutes before it rained, because we know that this is going to be a difficult weekend where the weather is concerned. It looks like it’s going to be unsettled for the next two days so we have to take what we learnt today and use it to the best of our advantage. We still need to do some work because we didn’t really get the chance to check the work we did today, so we’re looking forward to more time on-track tomorrow.”

Daniele Romagnoli – Team Manager
“This difficult weather doesn’t help our job plan! We were able to do half the session in the dry, which was useful, although it was very cold. It was interesting to see our pace and understand our potential, but we definitely have some work to do tomorrow. Let’s hope for a dry day.”

Rain dampens home start for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team

Mixed weather conditions disrupted early preparations for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team’s home race in Le Mans today, Colin Edwards and James Toseland ending a rain-hit opening practice session in 10th and 12th on the timesheets. On a day of typically unpredictable Le Mans weather conditions, the session started on a dry track despite earlier rain showers and Edwards and Toseland quickly set about utilising an extra 15 minutes of set-up time available. Practice has reverted back to a one-hour format in Le Mans having been run over 45 minutes at the first three races.

American Edwards had just moved into the top ten with a best time of 1.37.269 when rain started to fall with 25 minutes remaining. Edwards and Toseland were forced into the pits for 15 minutes before conditions improved. But almost immediately after returning to the track, further light rain started to fall, bringing an end to any meaningful testing ahead of Sunday’s 28-lap French MotoGP race. Edwards, who was third in a clean sweep of the podium by Yamaha last season, is confident he can significantly improve the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine, having encountered some small issues this afternoon.

Toseland too is confident he can improve his best lap time of 1.37.738 after he evaluated a longer wheelbase setting on his YZR-M1 machine in the limited dry track time available.

This weekend’s race marks a special anniversary for the Tech 3 Team, which celebrates its 20th season of Grand Prix world championship competition in 2009.

Colin Edwards 10th 1.37.269 – 18 laps
“It was a really weird day to be honest and I’m a bit confused. My record proves that I like this track and we know the Yamaha is a really strong package in Le Mans, but right from the start nothing really seemed to work. It’s obvious we’ve got a couple of small issues to solve for tomorrow because Valentino (Rossi) and Jorge (Lorenzo) are not up near the top either. So out of the box nothing really seems to be working and that is very strange. From my side I just don’t feel comfortable. Braking and corner entry I’m not that confident and I was running wide quite a lot. It felt like we had a lot of weight on the rear but I need to get my thinking head on tonight, sit down with my guys and figure something out. We’ll check over some data with Yamaha too because right now I’m a little bit confused. But we’ve definitely got to do something to make it more comfortable. I know this is a massively important weekend for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. It’s an awesome achievement for them to be involved in the world championship for 20 years. I’ll be trying my best to give them something to celebrate on Sunday.”

James Toseland 12th 1.37.738 – 16 laps
“I think I’m going to stop saying I need more time on the track, because when I do something makes sure it doesn’t happen. >From the off we’re not too far away but we need time to try things on the bike. I’m sure the guys behind me are saying the same thing, but we still need to find a comfortable setting and it is a frustrating scenario when you only have one session on a Friday. We made the wheelbase longer to get a bit more stability from the bike and I did eight laps and we made some changes based on comments about the good and bad points. But then it started raining so I couldn’t see if the changes were moving me in the right direction. I’m looking to be more comfortable and not feeling so on the limit not doing the quickest times. When the bike is not set-up right you always feel on the limit even though the lap times are not as fast as they should be. We’ll find what I need but you need to be out on the track to find it. I really want to get a good result this weekend given that this is the home race for Tech 3, and the team is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It’s incredible to think they have been racing in Grand Prix since I was eight years old! I’d love nothing more though than getting a good result for the team in France.”

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