News Report 10 September 2006

2006 MotoGP Sepang

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5543 m
09 / 10 / 2006
Time to be confirmed

Rossi continues comeback with magnificent Malaysian victory


Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi moved another step closer to the summit of the MotoGP World Championship today thanks to a breathtaking victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix. After starting from pole position the Italian was part of an entertaining battle for positions over the first half of the race before breaking clear alongside compatriot Loris Capirossi (Ducati). Just as they have done on so many occasions in the past, the pair became embroiled in a cat and mouse chase that had the 43,182 spectators on their feet until the very last lap.

With half a lap of the Sepang circuit remaining Rossi dived past Capirossi for the final time, opening out a crucial advantage within the next two corners and denying his rival the opportunity to make a last-gasp pass in the final hairpin. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) clinched the final podium position in third place despite riding with an injured knee. Rossi’s victory moves him up to third in the championship, four points behind the Spaniard and 26 adrift of series leader Nicky Hayden (Honda), who finished fourth.

Colin Edwards managed a top ten finish despite struggling all weekend to find the appropriate set-up for his YZR-M1 machine at this track. The Texan was up against it as he started out from eleventh on the grid after yesterday’s decision to base the qualifying positions on aggregate free practice times and he struggled to make an impression after losing touch with the leading pack. The series now moves on to Australia for the second of three races in as many weekends before returning to Europe for a tantalizing double header in Portugal and Spain.

Valentino Rossi (1st; 43’07.829)
“That was another legendary battle between myself and Loris – very hard but also very fair. At Brno he escaped but today I was able to hang on to him. When both our bikes are working well it is always spectacular because his performs better in some sections and mine in others so it makes for a beautiful fight. I enjoy racing with him so much because there is a lot of respect between us and a great trust – he is probably the hardest rival I have ever had but also one of my best friends in the paddock. At one point I thought I’d got away but then he appeared again and I knew it was going to be a battle to the end. He tried to break free but I stayed with him and I think we passed each other about ten times in the last few laps, it was amazing. I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everybody at Yamaha because they virtually cancelled their summer holidays to get this bike working at the maximum again and I was able to push at 100% today. I also need to say another big ‘thank you’ to Michelin, who have worked really hard to help us to get back to this level of competitiveness. For the two Honda riders to finish third and fourth is not ideal but all I can do is keep winning races so that is what I will try to do.”
Colin Edwards (10th; +19.909)
“We’ve had the same problems since Mugello – I don’t have enough rear grip and I can’t push the bike as hard as I need to. This weekend we turned it upside down but still couldn’t find that little bit of grip we need. We’ve been following Valentino a little with the setting and today I had virtually the same as him. I don’t know how he does it, but somehow he does and today I couldn’t. It’s always tough starting from so far down the grid and I tried to make up the ground but from mid-race I was basically riding on my own, trying to cut down the gap to Melandri but without much success. Luckily we have another race in seven days at a place I love so hopefully we can move onwards and upwards in Australia.”

Davide Brivio - Camel Yamaha Team Director
“What an incredible day! Another great race from Valentino and from our part all I can say is that we really enjoyed the show but we’re enjoying the 25 points even more! Valentino never gives up and his performance today was typical of him, I think that says it all. All our staff, from Japan to Italy and here in the paddock, have been working incredibly hard and this is their reward. Colin had a difficult weekend – he improved this morning but it wasn’t enough. We’re pleased that we have another race in seven days’ time at a circuit both our riders like so all we can do is keep our heads down, stay focused and do our best to hold on to this championship in the four rounds that remain.”

Another typically determined effort for Tech 3 Yamaha Team

The Tech 3 Yamaha Team led by Spaniard Carlos Checa put in another typically determined effort during the Malaysian Grand Prix held in sweltering conditions at the Sepang circuit in an absolutely enthralling race won in style by fellow Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi

Checa managed to finish in 12th position in front of factory rider Makoto Tamada while team mate James Ellison had another difficult weekend to finish just out of the points in 16th spot.

In a positive for the team to take to the next round at Phillip Island next weekend is that the lap times of Carlos were very similar to Colin Edwards who is also on a Yamaha rider and finished just two places behind him.

Carlos Checa (12th Fastest lap 2’03.466)
I’m quite satisfied with the job I did today. I feel that we raced on the limit of what we have as the bike seemed a little down on power today but the tyre performance was quite constant so considering this I feel I did my best. We made no mistakes and we found some more good information for Dunlop to work with so working like this we have found something better for the remaining races

James Ellison (16th Fastest lap 2’04.692)
I’m very disappointed to be honest. We’ve been working really hard all weekend to cure this handling problem as no matter what we do we cant get enough weight on the rear of the bike to make it steer into the corner but that has been going on all year. The frustrating thing is that no matter what we try with the setup we can’t get the bike to handle properly. I have to thank my team because they have been working very hard all year attempting to get the most out of the bike.

Herve Poncheral – Tech 3 Yamaha Team Director
It was another interesting weekend and as I have said many times this year this is a learning year so we have to expect that we won’t have perfect weekends. Today we were 30 seconds to the front and we were very consistent with the Dunlop tyres. We lack a bit of performance and stability but we are now having a lot of durability so things are improving. I’m reasonably happy and we are definitely making progress every race. Stability used to be the worst problem but this has improved a lot so now we have to find half a second for the first ten laps so then we will for sure be a lot closer with many riders in front of us.