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Camel Yamaha aim for reprise

Camel Yamaha aim for reprise

Camel Yamaha aim for reprise

The Camel Yamaha Team move on to the Middle East this weekend with the objective of making up for lost points and pride following a disappointing start to the season in the opening round at Jerez. The Grand Prix of Qatar represents the ideal opportunity of a reprieve, with Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards having performed well in pre-season testing at the Losail International Circuit in February.

A further day of testing following the Jerez race provided the team with another opportunity to work on the vibration problems that hampered the riders in Jerez, and the day produced some positive results. Such problems were at a minimum when the team tested at Qatar in February, so Yamaha is hopeful of starting out positively for the second race of the season.

Having been held in October for the past two seasons, it was expected that this year's spring race would see slightly cooler conditions but, with early weather forecasts predicting ambient temperatures of around 30ºC, it promises to be an equally gruelling weekend for the riders.

Valentino Rossi can't wait to get back to action this weekend after the anti-climax of his worst ever premier-class finish at Jerez. After being brought down by another rider at the first corner, Rossi was denied the chance to defend a record of five consecutive first round wins in the MotoGP class, but knows that the best way to make up for it is to bounce back with a good result in Qatar.

"After a bad start to the season, I am looking forward to going to Qatar and erasing the bad memories!" said Rossi. "Our bike worked really well when we went to Qatar for pre-season testing, so we hope that this will be the case again. It's true that we also had a tiny bit of vibration there, but it was only in a couple of places and it was quite manageable. Anyway our bike was very fast in Qatar from the first day, so this is a good sign.

"Last year my victory in Qatar was probably the most exciting race of the season for me, the whole race was at ridden at the maximum and I had a great, great battle with Melandri. I hope that we can have another good race this year, and of course I hope that I can win again and get our championship defence ‘back on track!' Qatar is a hard race and very tiring because of the heat, but it's a great track and I enjoy riding there."

Colin Edwards also has plenty of reasons to look forward to Qatar after riding himself into a spin with the set-up problems at Jerez. The Texan Tornado is keen to get back to a track where the YZR-M1 excelled during pre-season tests and says he expects to return to the personal form that saw him drive away with a new car after setting the fastest time at the Official Tests in Barcelona in early March.

"To be honest I couldn't wait to get out of Jerez on Monday evening, it was a nightmare weekend for us really," said Edwards, who has finished in the points at every race since that second place at Qatar in 2004 - a run of 21 consecutive top fifteen finishes. "Things didn't work from the start and our luck couldn't have been worse in the race but it's time to turn the page now. I've got belief in the bike and the team and I know we can turn it around in Qatar. I only have to look across the garage at Valentino to know it is not my riding that is at fault so personally my confidence is still at a premium and I feel ready to ride to the best of my ability´.


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