Marlboro Yamaha Team Tests
September 10 2001
CHECA AND BIAGGI MAKE PROGRESS IN PORTUGAL
Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi stayed on at Estoril today to prepare for the final five races of the 2001 500 World Championship. After a somewhat difficult Portuguese GP, in which Checa took fourth and Biaggi fifth after a minor tumble, the team focused on evaluating new parts and settings.
Both men lapped fractionally faster than they'd managed in the race, allowing them to leave the track feeling confident about the upcoming Marlboro Valencia Grand Prix on September 23.
"Our job is always to make the riders feel more confident, so they can ride faster, and I'm confident we've managed that today," smiled Marlboro Yamaha Team director Hiroya Atsumi. "Both our riders went well during qualifying at Estoril, but then Carlos had a few minor problems in the race and Max crashed, so we had a frustrating day. Today we tried some new engine and chassis parts, plus some new 16.5in tyres from Michelin, and we also worked at continuing to improve the balance of both riders' bikes. This track and Valencia are quite similar in terms of machine settings, so we should be in good shape for the next race. But we also wanted to try some things for the first two 'flyaway' races at Motegi and Phillip Island, because they're very different tracks."
Checa, who came through from eighth to fourth in the Estoril race, was happy with his day's work. "I didn't expect to make all the improvements we made today," he said. "We fixed the little chatter problem we had yesterday, and I was able to keep a good pace on used tyres, which is very important. I'm looking forward to Valencia, especially since I had terrible results at the other two races in Spain earlier this year. I really want to fight to win and I will focus 100 per cent on being the best."
His chief engineer Mike Webb added: "Carlos had a bit of rear-end chatter in the race here, and he wasn't totally happy with the balance of the bike on corner entries, so we've been working on that. Ninety per cent of our work has been on detail chassis settings, and that will be applicable to Valencia, so we're pretty happy."
Biaggi and his crew also worked hard on set-up, with the aim of putting two disappointing weekends behind them and bouncing back at Valencia. "Now I want to win as many more races as I can this year, I want to keep pushing until the end," said the Italian. "We tried some different chassis settings today, which gave me a little more confidence. They were small improvements, and they made the bike better in some areas."
Biaggi and his chief engineer Fiorenzo Fanali also used the day to make a detailed analysis of data from yesterdays' crash. "We've examined the data very carefully and we can confirm that Max did nothing wrong, he was riding through that corner at the usual speed," said Fanali. "These tests have given us a good start for Valencia. Of course, Max was disappointed with his race result here, but he'll be strong at Valencia and ready to try to win again."
The Marlboro Valencia Grand Prix is round 12 of this year's 16-race 500 World Championship and the last GP in Europe. Three 'flyaway' GPs follow during October - the Pacific GP (in Japan), the Australian GP and the Malaysian GP. The curtain comes down on the last-ever 500 World Championship at Rio de Janeiro on Saturday November 3.
Carlos Checa (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 1m 40.75s
Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 1m 41.10s