Sepang, Malaysia Friday December 7 2001 CHECA & BIAGGI GO FASTER AT SEPANG Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi continued their impressive progress at Sepang today, day two of their final test session of 2001. Overnight rain...
Friday December 7 2001
CHECA & BIAGGI GO FASTER AT SEPANG
Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi continued their impressive progress at Sepang today, day two of their final test session of 2001.
Overnight rain and intermittent morning showers prevented the pair from riding before lunchtime but both riders went on to clock rapid laps throughout the afternoon, proving that the YZR-M1 should be a force in next year's new-look MotoGP World Championship. Biaggi was a fraction off Checa's pace but still moving forward and satisfied with progress.
"Both riders set excellent lap times today," said YZR-M1 project leader Ichiro Yoda. "Carlos was very fast and happy with the third chassis he tested, after the two he used yesterday. He has one more chassis to try tomorrow and maybe he will be even faster with that. Max has less four-stroke experience than Carlos, so he's been working on his riding style. But he still has some problems with the four-stroke's engine braking and we'll be working on that before we go testing again in January."
Checa rode 58 laps of the sweeping Sepang track, cutting several tenths off his Thursday best. "We improved a lot today," he said. "I tried another chassis today and it was more stable than the others. We were also able to reduce the chatter I had yesterday which is probably the main reason I could improve my times today. Tomorrow I will try the fourth chassis and I'm really looking forward to seeing if that will be a further improvement. I will also be doing some race simulations to check tyre endurance. I tried a much better Michelin front today but so far we've been concentrating on feeling rather than endurance."
Biaggi completed 46 laps today, continuing his getting-to-know-you process with the four-stroke M1. "It's getting better and I feel more confident on the bike, but we still have a lot of work to do," said the Italian. "My main difficulties are going into the corners, with engine braking and turning. Tomorrow we will focus on getting the bike to turn the way I want it to turn, that means working on geometry and suspension, so I can hold my corner speed into the turns."
The Marlboro Yamaha Team completes this Sepang test tomorrow, before taking a few weeks break for Christmas and New Year. The squad commences its 2002 test programme at Valencia, Spain, in January and will conduct further tests at Jerez, Estoril, Catalunya and Suzuka before the season kicks off with the Japanese GP on April 7.