Yamaha Factory Racing Phillip Island, Australia Thursday, March 11, 2004 Yamaha Head Back To Europe 'On Track' With Test Programme The third and final day of Yamaha's gruelling intercontinental winter testing programme ended today at the...
Yamaha Factory Racing
Phillip Island, Australia
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Yamaha Head Back To Europe 'On Track' With Test Programme
The third and final day of Yamaha's gruelling intercontinental winter testing programme ended today at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia. The teams have completed a series of tests in Malaysia and Australia and now head back to Europe for two more tests against their MotoGP competitors before the season kick-off in South Africa in April. Despite a feisty headwind, Valentino Rossi, Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri took advantage of the sunniest of the three days to make successful race simulations.
Rossi, Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha newcomer, made his race simulation this afternoon battling against the wind and concluded the day with a total of 85 laps and a top time of 1'30.8, just failing to improve on yesterday's lap time. Nevertheless the 25-year-old was content with the progress made and heads back to Europe ready to participate in his first IRTA tests as a Yamaha rider. Team-mate Checa also made a race simulation for the second time in as many days, just beating his time from yesterday with 1'31.3 after completing 100 laps in total.
Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 riders Melandri and Norick Abe seemed to switch fortunes from yesterday, with Melandri finding a great improvement with some overnight geometry changes, while Abe found himself losing a little direction since yesterday.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha) 85 laps, 1'30.8
"Overall once again I'm quite satisfied with this test. Today was a bit of a struggle against the strong winds, making it harder than last time we were here. But we've made some good progress with tyres and I was comfortable with the race simulation this afternoon. It wasn't as warm as we would have liked, about 20 degrees outside temperature, but we have found quite a good level and are ready to see what happens when we move to a different circuit. The IRTA tests are going to be interesting for this reason, as we've only tested with this set-up and engine spec at two circuits, and Barcelona and Jerez are difficult because of their hard braking. But we will see!"
Carlos Checa (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha) 100 laps, 1'31.3
"That was quite a good race simulation, we're still a bit behind where we should be but we've reduced the gap quite a bit during this test and we've improved since yesterday. I think we will have quite a good level for the start of the championship. I'm looking forward to going to Barcelona and seeing where we are now against our competitors. We've mostly focused on the chassis this winter and will concentrate more on the engine in the near future. But we are conscious not to change too much with the bike."
Marco Melandri (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3) 99 laps, 1'31.92
"Well that was much better. I'm quite happy with how things went today; I felt much more comfortable on the bike. We consistently made an improvement every time we went out, which is just how I needed to finish this test. Every run was a step in the right direction. Since we seemed to have lost our way a little yesterday the team and I sat down last night and looked at everything - how we had the bike set up during the GP here last year and how things were for the last test we had in February. We then modified the geometry this morning and things instantly improved. I also did a full race simulation and the result was quite positive."
Norick Abe (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3) 96 laps, 1'33.69
"Today it went a little wrong. I thought I was doing quite well, I felt very comfortable everywhere, but then I followed Checa and saw that in most places I was doing OK; except the slower corners. Here I'm losing quite a bit more than I expected. I guess we still have some more work to do."
The Yamaha Factory Racing teams now head back to Europe for the pre-season group IRTA tests, commencing in Barcelona on Friday 26 March.