| Setup Report - 28/08/2007|
The Fiat Yamaha Team make the short trip from their Milan base to the Adriatic coast this weekend for their second 'home' race of the season as the MotoGP World Championship returns to Misano following a fourteen-year hiatus. The late summer trip to the lively party resort will be anything but a holiday for Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards, however, as they look to overhaul a disappointing run of results and put up a competitive resistance over the final stage of the season.
For Rossi, in particular, this is a crucial opportunity to close the gap on series leader Casey Stoner after conceding 39 points to the Australian over the past three races. The Italian has not appeared on the podium during that time but he has yet to go four races without a top three finish since his rookie season in 2000 and he certainly will not be short of support in his quest to maintain that record. Thousands of fans are planning to make the 15km pilgrimage from his hometown of Tavullia to the Misano circuit on foot on Saturday morning and fill the stadium-style banking that surrounds the circuit with his famous yellow colours.
Whilst this will be Rossi's first competitive race at the renowned Italian circuit, his team-mate Colin Edwards has plenty of experience there thanks to his days in the World Superbike Championship, when he finished on the podium on four occasions. However, the track knowledge he gained during that time will be of little use this weekend, with the circuit now running in the opposite direction. In order for the riders to get used to the new layout, they will be given an extra hour of free practice on Friday afternoon and each rider's tyre allowance has been increased by one front and two rears - taking the total allocation to 15 and 19 respectively.
Valentino Rossi - "We will do our best"
Valentino Rossi's unusual podium dry spell since his victory at Assen two months ago has left him 60 points adrift of Stoner at the top of the championship, with just six rounds remaining to haul himself back into contention. The multi-World Champion has made a habit of defying the odds throughout his glittering career but is well aware of the challenge ahead and is simply looking forward to performing for his home fans this weekend.
"It's always very special for me to race in front of my home fans and Misano is so close to my home that it should be something amazing!" says Rossi. "Anyway, we arrive here not in such great shape, following some disappointing races. We had two days of testing in Brno and, although we weren't able to find the 'miracle' tyres that we were hoping for, we did give a lot of information to Michelin and hopefully they will have been able to use this to do some good work during this week. We will see where we are on Friday morning.
"About the track, now they've turned it around it's like a new track for everyone. Even Colin, who knows it well from Superbikes, is expecting that his previous knowledge won't help, so I think it's fair to say that we're all in the same boat. As always we will do our best and I sincerely hope that we can give the Italian fans something to cheer about!"
Colin Edwards - "Keep the faith!"
Colin Edwards returned home to Texas for a short break after the Brno tests, which saw him complete extensive tyre work alongside Michelin's engineers. The American also tried some new starting maps but despite his knowledge of the circuit he admits it will be an entirely different kind of map that he will need on Friday morning!
"I remember the old layout well so I think my mechanics are going to have to remind me which way to go round the track!" jokes Edwards. "Of course I knew the old track well from my Superbike days and I've had some great races there, I liked it a lot. However all that knowledge is pretty much out of the window now we're going the other way around so I'm pretty much just viewing it as a new track. Of course I know my way around the town well and where to get the best ice cream, but I think I just need to forget everything else I remember about it!
"The test at Brno was important to try and get some more data for the tyres because the new tyre rules don't you give much opportunity to try new things during a Grand Prix. We found a front that I'm pretty happy with and made some improvements with the rear so hopefully that will help. We're not expecting miracles but we've just got to go step-by-step and keep the faith. I've been home for a few days so I'm well rested and looking forward to reacquainting myself with Misano!"
Davide Brivio - "A special place"
Fiat Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio is also excited about the prospect of racing in Italy for a second time this season and looking forward to the extra support and motivation that will bring. However, he says the new engine that Rossi and Edwards tested at Brno will not be available to his riders this weekend and is looking further ahead for updates to the YZR-M1 machines.
"Mugello is always an important race for us but Misano is something new and it's a special place because of the history attached to the circuit," says Brivio. "It is a second home for Valentino and I'm sure there will be an incredible crowd there for him because it's so close to Tavullia. It is an area where the passion for motorcycles is very strong and hopefully a lot of fans will come.
"For us it is a difficult moment to be going there but you can never be sure what will happen in racing. We're working hard on our package to try and improve the situation for both our riders and racing at Misano is just an extra motivation for all of us to do well. The new engine we tested at Brno will now go back to Japan for further development and we hope to have it available as soon as possible after this weekend."
Fiat Yamaha Team Ready For Welcome Misano Return () 08/29 09:52 AM
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