Yamaha Factory Racing Riders end Successful Three-Day Test in Malaysia
Yamaha Factory Racing's MotoGP teams concluded a busy three day test in Sepang today with another hot and humid day out on the track. The Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha and Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 teams will have no time to rest though as they move straight on to the Australian Phillip Island circuit for three more days of testing as of Tuesday 17 February.
Leading rookie of 2003, Honda's Nicky Hayden, set a hot lap in the morning with a time of 2'02,04 and despite the efforts of his Honda compatriots Max Biaggi, (2'02.10) Sete Gibernau )2'02.49 and Honda new-boy Colin Edwards, (2 '02.59) this remained the day's fastest time. New Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider and reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi was fifth fastest again, running once again with the same engine prototype as yesterday, before stopping a little earlier than expected due to a small problem with the new engine spec . His Spanish team-mate Carlos Checa had another good session, building on his work from yesterday refining his M1 set-up. Both Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha riders continued to test new Michelin tyre combinations. Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 rider Marco Melandri finally found a set-up he felt comfortable with towards the end of the day and team-mate Norick Abe made some progress after a difficult three days. All four riders are now looking forward to riding their YZR-M1 machines at the dramatic Phillip Island circuit, having spent a total of six days testing at the humid Sepang venue already this year.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)47 laps, 2'02.74
"At this test the new engine spec has given us a great improvement because I can accelerate more easily and it gives me more torque from the bottom. This is only the first prototype so for sure there is much more work to do and there is not enough horsepower right now. I think if I had not had to finish a bit early then I could probably have gone faster. Phillip Island will be a very important test because we need to understand how much time the bike takes to set up at a new track; the Yamaha has a reputation for needing a lot of changes each time it moves to a new circuit. But then of course it's one story when you have three days at a test to work on set-up, and quite another when you have about three hours in a race weekend. For now we will go to Phillip Island with our current settings and see how we get on."
Jeremy Burgess (Valentine Rossi's Crew Chief)
"We had to stop earlier than we'd planned due to some gripes with the new engine spec. We had been running close to the limit with some of our parts, but we fully expected this. The biggest step of these three days has been the introduction of the new engine spec and we are very pleased with our progress, however I'm sure the opposition are pleased with their progress too! We're in front of where the opposition were at the last race here; I know what we've got and where we're going. We've made some good laps over the last three days and we have the ability to go further. At this stage it 's no surprise to be taking some steps forward and some steps back but now we're ready for Phillip Island next week. I already know what we need to alter and so we'll look forward to trying the bike at a new track."
Carlos Checa (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha) 79 laps, 2'03.10
"I had high expectations for today and unfortunately didn't achieve what I was hoping for - to get consistently fast laps. I have improved my time since yesterday and it's not a bad time but it's not what we were expecting. We've mostly worked on a variety of Michelin tyres today and haven't made many other changes to the bike. I am looking forward to moving on to Phillip Island because it's a great track. We've been totally focused here and have worked really hard, and will do the same there."
Davide Brivio (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team Director)
"This has been a good test for Valentino. In three days he's made more minor chassis adjustments and we have compared the two new engine specs. It is very interesting for him to understand the how the bike reacts to the changes. Both riders have tested new Michelin tyre combinations during the test and we wanted to reconfirm Valentino's request for future engine development. Carlos improved his lap times, but he was not going out for a hot lap. His times are better than at the race last year, and they were quite good then! Now we will go to Phillip Island and see how the new engine reacts there."
Marco Melandri (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3) 59 laps, 2'04.75
"On the second to last lap I started to feel a bit better than I have felt all through this test. To be honest, I had some problems all day, and we have made many changes at this test and not all in the right direction! At about 3pm we found a better way, but we have had six days here now and we are still a long way from where we wanted to be. I was faster at the end and I think that with this setting it will be better next time we come to Sepang. I am glad I didn't fall off here, I am glad we are going to Phillip Island now and I hope we'll be better there!"
Norick Abe (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3) 57 laps, 2'05.04
"I have had quite a rough time here and am not so happy. I used a new front tyre at the start of the day and it began well but by midday I started to lose front feeling. Right at the end we used the same tyre again and made some consistently good laps and I had a much better front feeling. So overall I'm leaving with a better impression than I started with. I have never raced the M1 at Phillip Island as unfortunately I fell off in practice last time I was there, so I am looking forward to riding there next week."
"Unfortunately this test has not been as good as we had hoped. We expected that it would be an improvement but we could not achieve consistently good lap times. Marco had a good race at Phillip Island last year - maybe the best of his MotoGP career - until he fell, so we are excited about his performance there next week. Anyway both riders did make some improvements towards the end of today's session, and we'll make sure they both feel positive next time we come back here!"