Fortuna Yamaha Team heads for IRTA tests with quiet confidence.
Fortuna Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri will leave the Barcelona circuit this evening content with the outcome of today's testing. Despite a nasty tumble early on yesterday, Checa returned to the track today unshaken and ready to get back to work. His team-mate Marco Melandri completed more laps than all the other Yamaha riders today, ending the test with a long run giving him some of the vital experience that he will need when the MotoGP season begins in Suzuka, Japan, on 6th April.
Checa was positive about his day's achievements, "I still felt slightly sore today but generally I am OK", admitted the Spaniard. "I am happy with my performance today, as I found some consistent laps. I also went the fastest that I have ever ridden at this circuit. The weather conditions today weren't great either, so I think there is even more room to improve". Checa completed a total of 46 laps and improved on his previous Grand Prix lap time of 1'45.2s, Max Biaggi's pole position time of 1'44.5s, and the circuit lap record of 1'46.6s.
Melandri came away from the test feeling much more confident than at the Fortuna Yamaha Team's previous test in Valencia two weeks ago, where he suffered some front braking problems. The young 250cc World Champion found difficulties adjusting his style to suit the four-stroke's heavy braking, and worked with team supplier Brembo yesterday and today to find a way towards a solution to the problem.
"At the end of today I did 16 laps in a row as a kind of a 'race test', to try to understand what the bike will feel like at the end of a race", explained Melandri. "I am happy with what I achieved here, as I managed to record a best lap time of 1'45.7s." The Italian completed a total of 75 laps today.
The Fortuna Yamaha Team will leave Barcelona tonight and resume testing at the first IRTA test in Jerez on 21st February. Team Director Davide Brivio is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead, "I am pleased that we have had these two extra days, as we lost important time in Jerez last month due to the bad weather. Development is going as it should be. Carlos has had another very good day today even though he fell yesterday, and Marco has increased his confidence with the bike. Brembo have done a good job supporting him, making the changes he needed to feel more stable with front braking. We are interested to go to Jerez now to see the level we are at compared to our competitors."
Alex Barros, Gauloises Yamaha Team 1'44.0s (58 laps)
Carlos Checa, Fortuna Yamaha Team 1'44.3s (46 laps)
Shinya Nakano, D'Antin Yamaha 1'44.8s (62 laps)
Marco Melandri, Fortuna Yamaha Team 1'45.7s (75 laps)
Olivier Jacque, Gauloises Yamaha Team 1'47.7s (49 laps)
More information will be available from the IRTA tests in Jerez (21,22,23 February).