The Fortuna Yamaha Team stayed on at the Valencia circuit in Spain to complete the first of a two-day test today. Carlos Checa and Norick Abe took advantage of the clement weather to continue to test the new evolution of Yamaha's Deltabox frame on their YZR-M1 machines, having both raced with the new chassis in the final round of the 2003 World Championship in Valencia on Sunday.

Carlos Checa, who concluded his 2003 season on Sunday seventh in the championship, switched between the new chassis spec and his existing chassis today, completing a total of 81 laps, with a best lap time of 1'33.78. The Spanish rider enjoyed the opportunity to continue set-up on the new chassis, and will continue testing it tomorrow.

"We tried the current spec chassis this morning to confirm that we're heading in the right direction when we compare it to the new chassis, with which I raced on Sunday," said the 31-year-old. "Then this afternoon we went back to the new one to improve my race set-up. We reconfirmed today that the new one is good - we only had a couple of hours using it during the race weekend, and today we can see more clearly that it has a lot of potential.

"I was here at the Valencia track yesterday as well because Yamaha had invited some journalists to test my bike. It was really interesting to hear their comments when they got off the bike, even though they generally rode about 10 or 15 seconds slower around the track than the MotoGP riders do!"

Norick Abe, who replaced the injured Marco Melandri during the race weekend, spent the day testing some new parts for Yamaha. Also present at the Valencia track today were riders from Ducati, Aprilia, Kawasaki, Pramac and Proton KR.

The Fortuna Yamaha Team test will conclude tomorrow.

-fyt-