Rossi recovery foiled in Turkish thriller


Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi made up valuable points in the MotoGP World Championship title chase after charging from eleventh place on the grid to take fourth overall in today’s Turkish Grand Prix. Despite making a quick start from his lowly grid position, the Italian made a mistake on lap two and dropped as far back as twelfth. However crucial changes made to the setup of his YZR-M1 before the race then allowed him to pass no fewer than seven riders, as he lapped at the same pace as the leading group over the course of the race. By the time he had made his way through the pack it was too late for the Italian to challenge for the podium but a crash for Dani Pedrosa (Honda) on the final lap boosted his final position to fourth. Today’s result makes Rossi the highest point-scorer of all time in the Grand Prix World Championship, overtaking Max Biaggi.

Rossi’s Camel Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards made a decent start and remained in touch with the leaders for the opening laps but was unable to make any further progress and ended the race in ninth – the same position he had started from on the grid. At the front Marco Melandri (Honda) repeated his win from last season but was pushed all the way by Casey Stoner (Honda), who led the race until three corners from the end, when Melandri made his definitive pass. Nicky Hayden (Honda) was left to snap up the final podium position after Pedrosa’s misfortune, the Spanish youngster tumbling out at turn one on the final lap when attacking Melandri and Stoner.

Valentino Rossi (4th; + 6.209)
“I got a good start off the line but I had been thinking about the first corner incident at Jerez and what had happened to Lorenzo in the 250 race, so I decided to go to the inside and it cost me four or five places. I made the positions back by the end of the first lap but I made a mistake under braking on lap two and lost three seconds and the chance for a podium today. We have had so many problems this weekend but we solved some of them in time for the race with some big modifications after the warm-up this morning and then the bike was okay, especially in the second half of the race when I really enjoyed riding it. It will be interesting to see how much more progress we can make in the test tomorrow because it is a long championship and the most important thing right now is not where we are in the standings or the points difference to the leader – the priority is to get the bike working as we know it can. This is a tough series and when you have problems you don’t lose one or two places, you lose ten. It looks like there was a great battle at the front – it’s a shame I wasn’t involved! Looking at the championship right now I would say the top seven all have a chance to win the title but there is a long way to go yet.”

Colin Edwards (9th; + 22.847)
"We didn’t get it done at all this weekend and we need to sit down and work out why. It was always going to be a tough race today but I just didn’t have the feeling or confidence with the bike to go out and battle with the guys we should be running with, which is the front group. We’ve got a test tomorrow and I’m keen to get out there and get as many laps in as possible. It’s hard to overcome problems like the ones we’re experiencing now because you don’t get enough time during a Grand Prix weekend, so we’ll get as much data together as we can before China. We simply have to come up with something for there because this situation can’t go on for any longer.”

Davide Brivio – Camel Yamaha Team Director
“Looking at Valentino’s race pace he could have easily been on the podium today, or even won the race, which is a big plus point for us considering the problems we have had. On lap three he was seven seconds down but he finished closer to the winner than that, despite having to fight past so many riders. Even so this has not been a satisfactory weekend for us and we know we still have a lot of work to do, starting in tomorrow’s test. We have two very positive riders and this mood runs all the way through the team, so we will be working very hard tomorrow. The changes we made to Valentino’s bike today are encouraging but now we have to further this development. It was a tough Grand Prix but we have come out of it with many positives.”

Disappointing weekend for Tech 3 Yamaha Team

The variable weather conditions that prevailed over the Istanbul Park Circuit during the Grand Prix of Turkey, cast a giant cloud over the efforts of the Tech 3 Yamaha Team that contributed to a disappointing weekend for all involved. After the improvement of the previous Grand Prix in Qatar, Carlos Checa and James Ellison were determined to continue the momentum but their efforts over the three days were not rewarded as they finished in 15th and 18th positions, respectively. However dark the cloud may appear, there was a silver lining as the unpredictable conditions ensured that the team logged important data to furnish the team’s tyre supplier, Dunlop, for the remaining 14 rounds of the 2006 season.

Carlos Checa (15th; + 59.855)
“We started the race with a completely new setup starting from zero again and trying a new tyre so we didn’t know what to expect. I had a good start and pushed hard but on the third lap I lost the front and ran off the track. I tired again but I had another slide and decided to back off a little and settle into a good rhythm to save the tyre. This worked a little as I was able to get my fastest lap near the end of the race. I also had some trouble with my shoulder near the finish as there are so many left hand corners here. ”‘It wasn’t the best setup but with so much time lost we had to make a decision and unfortunately we went the wrong way. The way the weekend went I am not very happy but like I keep saying, this is a development year for Dunlop in MotoGP and it is most important that we supply them with as much information as possible so they can progress. When they go forward, we go forward and that is the main aim. That will help us as the season continues with the next race in China, and hopefully, my shoulder will be 100% by then.”

James Ellison (18th; + 1 lap)
“It’s like I’m making excuses all the time and its getting tiring but we haven’t found a proper setting to start with. It’s no one’s fault as we’re all working hard to try and find what we’re looking for. It’s not just us either as all four Yamaha riders seem to be struggling to find a decent setup. I thought for sure after the progress we make in Qatar we would have an even better weekend here and get a decent result. “On Friday we knew which direction to go, but I think, as it wasn’t as warm today as on Friday it didn’t help us. It’s a combination of getting things to work and unfortunately the combination we tried today didn’t work. I’m really disappointed.”

Herve Poncharal – Tech 3 Yamaha Team Director
“It was certainly a tough weekend but the positive point is that we worked hard with dry tyres on day one, we did the same with the wet tyres on day two and we have given a lot of useful information to Dunlop. “Truthfully the race was not as bad as it looks. We were consistently quicker in the race than we were on Friday and Carlos’s last laps were his fastest. Sure it wasn’t fast enough but Carlos is still having problems with his left shoulder and we go out of here with some ideas of how to improve. “I can’t say we are happy to finish where we were but I think we have been working quite well and I want to thank Carlos for being very constructive and very positive. With a rider like him I’m sure we can go forward and improve.”