Yamaha resumes testing at rainy Phillip Island
Having presented their 2005 contender in Japan on Monday, the Gauloises Yamaha team flew straight to Phillip Island for their fourth test of the year, alongside the satellite Fortuna Yamaha team. On the first day of this three-day test session, the Japanese manufacturer riders had to cope with tricky conditions.
After heavy rain yesterday, it had eased to a slow drizzle today before stopping mid-morning. However the sun failed to appear and as a result the track never dried out properly and remained slippery throughout the day.
Despite the bad weather, Rossi and Edwards completed a total of 51 and 60 laps respectively, albeit with slightly slower lap times than at the last Phillip Island test two weeks ago. The riders focused mainly on testing tires for Michelin and working on the set-up of their YZR-M1s.
Edwards was slightly faster than Rossi, setting a best lap of 1'31.27, while the World Champion finished the day with a fastest time of 1'31.38.
"The track conditions were really bad; it was so slick because it had rained all day yesterday," explained Edwards. "I did 60 laps but a lot of that was just trying to lay down some rubber on the track."
"We worked a bit on set-up and tried some tires, but it was cold and therefore difficult to get the tire temperature high enough to do much useful work. We were doing good things two weeks ago here but we didn't have the same feeling today, but I am sure things will improve with the weather!"
Rossi added that they couldn't work as much as planned, but remained hopeful of better weather for the next two days.
"Today the weather was bad – cold and raining so we couldn't test as we wanted. We worked a bit on bike settings and tested some tires, but with the weather like this it was difficult to judge any changes," said the World Champion, who has just been nominated for the prestigious Laureus Award. "It was much colder than the last time we were here, and this is why the lap times are slower. I hope tomorrow the temperature will improve and then we can do some proper testing."
Also on testing duties at Phillip Island, the satellite Fortuna Yamaha team with Ruben Xaus and Toni Elias. Xaus followed his intense programme with 78 laps of the Australian circuit with a best time of 1'33.02. Still learning his new bike, he worked mainly on the overall set-up of the bike.
His team-mate Toni Elías also tested different set-up configurations for his YZR M1 although his main objective for today was again to cover as many kilometres as possible as he looks to fully adapt to the premier-class machine.
Unofficial lap times:
1. Colin Edwards – Gauloises Yamaha : 1'31.27
2. Valentino Rossi – Gauloises Yamaha : 1'31.38
3. Ruben Xaus – Fortuna Yamaha : 1'33.02
4. Toni Elias – Fortuna Yamaha : 1'33.19