Checa faster than circuit best in Valencia while Melandri makes steady progress.
The Fortuna Yamaha Team leaves Valencia this evening after making substantial developments during their three day test. Carlos Checa worked on chassis set-up and development of Yamaha's fuel injection system, completing a total of 186 laps over the three days. He made steady progress and was pleased to record a best time of 1'32.9s, almost a second faster than his own qualifying time at November's Valencia Grand Prix, and quicker than the fastest official lap of the circuit set by former team-mate Max Biaggi (1'33.211s).
Italian Marco Melandri was not as happy with his progress over the three days, as he continued his familiarisation with his new YZR-M1. The 20 year old reigning 250cc World Champion struggled to feel comfortable braking at Valencia's tight circuit, and he suffered a number of minor tumbles. Melandri completed a total of 202 laps during the test, with a best time of 1'34.7.
"Our target for this test was to improve many things including chassis set-up and continuing development of the fuel injection system" said Carlos Checa. "There is still progress to be made in these areas. However I am very pleased because today I set a time almost one second faster than my qualifying time from my last race here. For me the most important thing now is to ensure that Yamaha and myself head in the right direction leading up to the first race. I feel I have ridden the bike at a good level during this test, completing many laps, and have found a good reference to see which steps to take next."
Checa's Fortuna Yamaha team-mate Melandri was disappointed with his performance but is looking forward to the next tests. "Today has not been great as we have had some engine troubles and although I completed many laps it was quite frustrating because I had to come in and out of the pits many times," explained the young Italian. "I felt more comfortable on the bike at the last test in Jerez, as here I had problems with front braking, and I wasn't able to ride the way I wanted to. We need to find a different solution to this braking problem to suit my style, and I'll work with my team on this. Hopefully we can come back here to test again."
Team Director Davide Brivio was generally pleased with the progress made in Valencia. "This has been quite a positive test, we had the chance to evaluate some Michelin tyres and are very happy with the work they have done," said Brivio. "Carlos was able to give us more information on chassis set-up. We need to improve the fuel injection system but we still have time to do so. Carlos got a good feeling here and recorded his best lap time at this circuit. Marco had the chance to continue his initiation, trying different tyres and settings, giving him more opportunity to understand the way the bike works. He has had a few problems which have hindered his progress but we still have many days of testing before the first race. To make up for the time lost to bad weather in our previous test in Jerez, we hope to fit in another test before the Jerez IRTA test on 21st to 23rd February."
LAP TIMES (best of 3 days)
Alex Barros, Gauloises Yamaha Team 1'32.8
Carlos Checa, Fortuna Yamaha Team 1'32.9
Shinya Nakano, D'Antin Yamaha 1'33.7
Marco Melandri, Fortuna Yamaha Team 1'34.7