French Grand Prix

Le Mans, France

Friday 19th May 2006


Camel Yamaha Team riders Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards were the fastest two riders in each of the first free practice sessions on the opening day of action at the Grand Prix of France today. Rossi lapped the Le Mans circuit in a time of 1’35.288 during the morning, when Edwards was just behind him with the second fastest time, whilst in the afternoon the roles were reversed as the American set the pace with a lap of 1’35.170, followed closely by his Italian team-mate.


The factory team have arrived in France in determined mood as they look to turn around their early season misfortunes, aided by the latest improvements to the YZR-M1 machine brought to this circuit by Yamaha. Rossi today ran back to back tests with a brand new chassis, designed to eliminate vibration problems suffered with the bike during the opening four rounds, and reported positive results. He will therefore incorporate the update into both of his machines tomorrow, when Rossi and Edwards try to repeat today’s success in the official Qualifying session.


COLIN EDWARDS (1st; 1’35.170, 52 laps)

“It wasn’t a bad day. We came here off the back of a good result in China, just brought the bike off truck this morning and everything seemed to work pretty well. Valentino is trying to fix a few things with the new chassis so we’re able to focus on working hard towards a race setting and seeing what we can get. I said yesterday that I’d know after four laps what my objective can be for the weekend and now I can say it’s to win.  Why not? Since the test in Turkey we’ve hardly touched the bike and I’ve got a level of confidence and feeling that I know what the bike will do. This morning it worked really well and although the chatter started to come this afternoon when we got more grip, we were still able to push so that’s encouraging. We know this chassis has its limit but we can get it there pretty easily and at this track, where the Yamaha goes well, at least it should allow us to push as hard as anyone else.”


VALENTINO ROSSI (2nd; 1’35.282, 36 laps)

“I’m happy because both Colin and I are fast from the start and it seems the M1 machine is working very well at this circuit. Now we are in the first and second places so this is a very good result for our team and it gives us some confidence. I was very fast in the morning and in the afternoon we spent the time making some tests for the setting with the new chassis for tomorrow. This job is very important because they say it might rain tomorrow, but we have already found a good base, so I’m very happy about that. I like the new chassis and I think it will help us to go faster. It is much better for the vibration and even at this early stage we can see it has a lot of potential. Yamaha have always gone well at Le Mans so now we wait for tomorrow and see if we can keep it going.”


“We’ve made a good start today with both Colin and Valentino. Both specs of the bike are working well so this is a very positive thing for us. Today was a good chance for us to gather some data in the dry because it looks as though it will rain tomorrow and we at least know we have a good base setting if it is dry again for the race on Sunday. Tomorrow Valentino will have the new chassis on both bikes and Colin will remain on the standard version but it seems both are working well so we look forward to seeing what happens tomorrow.”


Combined Free Practice Times:

  1. COLIN EDWARDS (USA) Camel Yamaha Team, 1’35.170
  2. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) Camel Yamaha Team, 1’35.282
  3. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki Racing Team, 1’35.447
  4. John Hopkins (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP, 1’35.461
  5. Casey Stoner (AUS) Honda LCR, 1’35.546
  6. Makoto Tamada (JPN) Konica Minolta Honda, 1’35.625
  7. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Ducati Marlboro Team, 1’35.628
  8. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati Marlboro Team, 1’35.662
  9. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team, 1’35.796
  10. Marco Melandri (ITA) Fortuna Honda, 1’35.935


Speak Your Mind