Catalunya, Spain Saturday March 9 2002 CHECA & BIAGGI GO HEAD TO HEAD WITH MotoGP RIVALS Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi commenced their final European pre-season test at Catalunya today, continuing development of the...
Saturday March 9 2002
CHECA & BIAGGI GO HEAD TO HEAD WITH MotoGP RIVALS
Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi commenced their final European pre-season test at Catalunya today, continuing development of the new chassis they evaluated for the first time at Mugello, Italy, last week.
This weekend's session is of particular interest because it is the first chance for all the new MotoGP four-strokes - the Yamaha YZR-M1, Honda RCV, Suzuki GSV-R and Aprilia RS Cube - to compete on the same track at the same time. Checa and Biaggi ended the day third and sixth fastest.
"I've already improved on my best 500 lap here by almost one second, so I'm quite satisfied," said Checa. "We had some problems during our tests at Valencia and Estoril last month but we definitely made a step forward with the new chassis at Mugello. Now we have to work some more on the chassis and we also need to improve torque and throttle-to-engine connection. With the potential we have now we can improve another half second but we are a little behind, so we're hoping that Yamaha can quickly make some more improvements."
Biaggi, who was unhurt after tumbling this afternoon, was just one tenth off his team-mate's best lap and also looking forward to further developments.
"This is the first time we've been able to directly compare our bike against the other four-strokes, so we now know where we are at," said the Italian. "We have found some limitations with the bike, so we need to investigate those. I always try to be confident even when things don't look that great, so we should stay positive and wait for some parts to arrive that will increase performance and allow us to ride faster."
Yamaha engineers are now working flat out on producing new parts in time for the season-opening Japanese GP which happens at Suzuka on April 7. "We have many new items on the way for Suzuka," said YZR-M1 project leader Ichiro Yoda. "After today we now know where we are and we know our target. We have to work quickly and I know we can gain a few tenths with new chassis parts and another few tenths with new engine parts."
Carlos Checa (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 1m 45.533s
Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 1m 45.658s