Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa head south to Portugal next week following another invaluable mid-season test session. After Biaggi's runaway victory in last Sunday's Czech GP, the team stayed on for a two-day outing at Brno,...
Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa head south to Portugal next week following another invaluable mid-season test session. After Biaggi's runaway victory in last Sunday's Czech GP, the team stayed on for a two-day outing at Brno, working on chassis performance and power delivery.
Several rival teams also stayed on for testing and Biaggi left the circuit a happy man on Wednesday evening, having clocked equal-fastest time of the week. Checa stayed until Thursday afternoon, working with his crew to put himself back in the title hunt.
"I'm very happy, the work we've done has made the bike better, better than it was when I won last Sunday," smiled Biaggi. "We've been trying to improve the chassis and make the power delivery more linear, continuing our work on some hardware we tested at Mugello last month. I feel confident about next week's race at Estoril, but we'll have to see how things go when we get there."
Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust believes Biaggi is now ready for a strong end-of-season surge, following a mostly difficult 2000 campaign.
"We've definitely taken a few steps forward," said Crust. "Max told us he could've beaten everyone by 20 seconds last Sunday, not just six, if he'd raced with the latest modifactions. I think it's looking good for Estoril because the baseline set-up there isn't so different from here, we shouldn't have to make too many changes.
"His best lap wasn't as fast as he managed last weekend but Max did the same time as (Kenny) Roberts during the tests, running a bunch of those times with worn tyres, while Roberts just did one lap at that pace."
Checa struggled to 11th at the Czech GP but felt a lot better during the tests. Now he aims for a return to his early season form, when he finished second in four of the first six races.
"I didn't feel good on the bike last weekend but I feel happier now," said Checa, currently third in the series. "I've got to focus on getting myself back in the right shape of mind to attack at the last few races and the work we've done here has been useful."
Crust believes the two days could be crucial to Checa's end-of-season form. "Carlos had some sorting out to do and I think this has helped," he said. "His times weren't lightning fast but they've been as quick as most of the guys out there. We did try some new front-end parts with him but ended up sticking with what we had before, albeit with different settings. We also worked on carburation and we've helped smooth out his power delivery."
Next weeks' Portuguese GP is the 12th of this year's 16 rounds and is followed by the Valencia GP on September 17. Then the GP circus heads off for the season-ending flyaway events in Brazil, Japan and Australia. <pre> Lap times Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 2m 01.9s Carlos Checa (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 2m 02.8s