Bad weather marred an otherwise positive day of testing for the Fortuna Yamaha Team on the first of their three-day test in Sepang today. Factory Team rider Carlos Checa completed three beneficial hours of testing on his YZR-M1 before the heavens opened over the Malaysian circuit. The Spaniard waited in the garage with his crew but the track did not dry sufficiently for him to continue testing into the latter part of the afternoon.

Checa spent the morning continuing to develop the new evolution of Yamaha's Deltabox frame, which was first introduced during the Valencia Grand Prix almost one month ago. The thirty-one-year old compared the new spec with the 2003-spec chassis alongside Yamaha test riders Norick Abe and Norihiko Fujiwara. Checa completed 30 laps before the rain interrupted his rhythm, with a best lap time of 2'04.9s, and Japanese riders Abe and Fujiwara continued testing on the wet track.

"I managed to get in about three hours before the rain started," said Checa. "It wasn't exactly a surprise as it's been raining here at the same time in the afternoon for the past few days. I still had enough time to give some information to the Yamaha engineers comparing engine data between the two chassis specs I was testing and understanding where the benefits are. I couldn't finish the day because of the rain but I'm still quite positive and found the hours we had worthwhile. It will be frustrating, however, if it rains again tomorrow."

Fortuna Yamaha's three-day Sepang test continues tomorrow and Sunday. (A further press release will be issued on Sunday.)

-fyt-