The Fortuna Yamaha Team concluded their three-day test in Sepang today satisfied with the progress made by Spanish rider Carlos Checa. Bad weather interrupted Friday's testing at the Malaysian circuit but conditions improved yesterday and today, leaving the team plenty of dry track time to achieve their goals.
In their last test of 2003 the Factory Team continued development with Yamaha's latest-spec Deltabox frame, first introduced during the Valencia Grand Prix. Checa switched between 2003-spec and new-spec chassis, as well as testing new Michelin front tyres. The Spaniard was joined on the track by Yamaha test riders Norick Abe and Norihiko Fujiwara, both of whom rode with the new tyres whilst focusing on Magneti Marelli's fuel injection system.
"I'm quite tired!" commented Checa, having put in around 60 laps today. "Yesterday was better than Friday, and then today was even more useful again. I tested new front tyres with the 2003-spec chassis and the new chassis. I'm quite satisfied because I confirmed valuable information to Yamaha's engineers and Michelin on the advantages and weak points of the tyre combinations with both chassis. My best lap times were okay but I was focusing more on giving feedback than going for the fastest time.
"I think we still need to make some improvements to both the chassis and the engine but we have a reasonable point to start from at our next test here in January, and we'll concentrate on using the new chassis from then on. Next year is not going to be easy and you never know how much the competitors will improve. Anyway we definitely have a good starting point. I'm going to Italy next week to do some technical work on my leathers with Alpinestars, then to ride a Supermotard at the Bologna Motorshow. I'll head home to the UK after that, then for Christmas I will probably go to visit family in Spain, then go skiing until the New Year either in France or Italy. I need to relax a bit before next year!"
Team Director Davide Brivio was also pleased with the test results, "Carlos has worked really hard and we're happy with the progress made", he said. "He put in some longer runs with the new Michelin tyres and was able to keep close enough to his recent race pace. Abe and Fujiwara helped us a lot with the new tyres and looking at our Magneti Marelli system. All in all it's a good starting point for 2004."
The Yamaha Factory Team's next test will take place in Sepang on the 24/25/26 January.