Catalunya IRTA tests: Day One

The beginning of the 2005 MotoGP season is set to start April 10th. However, as a warm-up, MotoGP fans are given the first official tests of the season; the Catalunya IRTA tests. All other tests are unofficial, meaning lap times are provided by...

The beginning of the 2005 MotoGP season is set to start April 10th. However, as a warm-up, MotoGP fans are given the first official tests of the season; the Catalunya IRTA tests.

All other tests are unofficial, meaning lap times are provided by the teams themselves, rather than the MotoGP governing body. In addition, BMW gives away a car to the fastest tester during a one-hour timed session on Sunday, so Friday and Saturday are preparation for the big day.

Although Max Biaggi claims he is not aiming for the car on Sunday because as he put it, he already has one and "it works well enough", he was the fastest.

"My goal is to improve the race setting. We tried some new front tires but basically the bike is still the same. Tomorrow we'll test some new parts, mainly suspension. We are looking for an easier way of riding our RCV, especially in the corners. I'm very satisfied with my team, we are all giving the best. There is the right atmosphere to deliver our job," said Biaggi.

Second fastest was Sete Gibernau, only one tenth behind Biaggi. "For the first day we've done a good job. We've tested a lot of things and that always means you lose time because you have to come in to pit so often. Despite that we've been at the top from the start and that has to be a good sign. We've got less things to test tomorrow so we'll be able to focus a little more on certain aspects. I'm very happy because Honda have brought us a bit of everything we asked for and we set a good pace every time we went out," concluded the Spaniard.

A further tenth of a second behind sat Japanese Ace, Makoto Tamada. Tamada said, "I'm very satisfied because even when the track wasn't in perfect condition, as was the case this morning, I was fast because the feeling with the bike and the tires is at an optimal level. Tomorrow and on Sunday I am sure we'll achieve better lap times as for what I know Michelin brought us some new interesting tires to test."

Completing the All-Honda top-four was Gibernau's teammate, Marco Melandri. The former 250cc World Champion said, "in Qatar I knew I had taken a step forward in terms of confidence and I felt much more sure of myself coming into these tests. The results shows that I feel more and more comfortable with the bike every day and I am working hard to adapt my riding style to it. I've just tried to concentrate on myself and prepare as well as possible for the races. I didn't put soft tires on at any point. We're making progress and, if we get through our program tomorrow as we have done today, I want to do a race simulation on Sunday."

World Champion, Valentino Rossi, finished the day three tenths behind the pace setter as he struggled to figure out front-end woes. "We're having quite a few problems finding the right set-up and I haven't had great feeling so far, especially with the front. I hope tomorrow we feel better. But we need to find a solution to this problem. We have to work on engine performance as well over the next two days and find out what's going wrong. Anyway, I am confident that the team will find out the way we need to go and we have two more days to get there," said Rossi who was almost 10km/h down on top-speed king Ducati.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Max Biaggi , Valentino Rossi , Sete Gibernau , Makoto Tamada , Marco Melandri