Positive Checa and Melandri third and fifth fastest in Jerez.
Fortuna Yamaha Team duo Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri recorded the third and fifth fastest times at today's final day of the three day MotoGP IRTA tests in Jerez, Spain. All fifteen of the MotoGP riders rode in long awaited sunny but slightly windy conditions, having lost a day to wet weather yesterday. Despite three tests since December at the Spanish circuit, this was just the third day that the Fortuna Yamaha Team were able to test in sunshine.
Checa continued testing his fuel injected Yamaha YZR-M1, setting his best lap time of the three days with 1'42.861. The Spanish rider concentrated on testing endurance tyres for Michelin in the latter part of the day and was satisfied with the progress made, "The lap time was not the most important thing for us today, as I was testing endurance tyres for Michelin for 16 laps. I still can't find the feeling I want and need with the bike to win a race. I am having some problems with rear grip and overall balance. I would like to be able to control the rear tyre with the throttle, and at the moment I can't do that. It's quite hard to be optimistic now about this track, however we will keep working and I have confidence that we can improve in the areas we need to."
Marco Melandri completed 68 laps with a best time of 1'43.2, bettering his time of 1'43.8 from Friday's session.
"I have had a really good test," commented the 250cc World Champion. "I am very happy with this weekend but I made a bit of a mistake right at the end. Until the last hour of the test we had used the same set-up of the fuel injection bike but towards the end of the session I wanted to try a change to the front geometry. I then felt too much weight at the front on turn 11 and took a tumble. It was also very windy at that moment inside the corner and so was easy for me to slide off. Generally I am extremely happy - with my time and with my feeling on the bike. I wasn't focusing on the time but managed to improve on Friday's time, and I felt better here than at all my previous tests with the M1. I even changed my riding line slightly today. Now we are going to Estoril where I think it will be quite difficult as there are many slow corners there, which were maybe easier on a 250cc bike than on a four-stroke."
Melandri's crew chief Fiorenzo Fanali was delighted with his new rider's progress, "We have helped Michelin a lot today with tyre testing and were very happy to do so, then we decided to try something a bit different with the geometry in the last hour of the test. Unfortunately after we added more weight to the front Marco took a tumble so we will now go back to the old set-up for Estoril. I am quite happy with Marco's performance in the last few days. He is sensitive to all the changes we make to the bike, and is good at communicating those feelings to us."
Team Director Davide Brivio summed up the test positively, "Both riders have set good times, despite Marco's small crash. Carlos has tried many different settings, we have faced some problems with the fuel injection system but at this stage of development it is quite normal. At the end of the session he was able to go consistently and at a good pace. We have a good base for him but there is room to improve more. Marco has now tested the fuel injection bike for the first time, and the new chassis. The next test will be useful for him to get more used to this bike. He was close in his times to all the top riders, so we are very pleased with the performance of both our riders today."
The Fortuna Yamaha Team now travel to Portugal to take part in the next MotoGP IRTA group tests at the Estoril circuit on the 26th and 27th February.
1. Alex Barros, Gauloises Yamaha Team 1'42.640
2. Colin Edwards, Alice Aprilia Racing 1'42.818
3. Carlos Checa, Fortuna Yamaha Team 1'42.861
4. Troy Bayliss, Ducati Marlboro Team 1'42.890
5. Marco Melandri, Fortuna Yamaha Team 1'43.236
6. Shinya Nakano, D'Antin Yamaha 1'43.302
7. Loris Capirossi, Ducati Marlboro Team 1'43.541
8. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki Grand Prix 1'43.910
9. Noriyuki Haga, Alice Aprilia Racing 1'44.218
10. John Hopkins, Suzuki Grand Prix 1'44.740