Sweltering conditions in Italy prove tough for Fortuna Yamaha. The Italian Grand Prix in Mugello today became an all Italian affair after Valentino Rossi (Honda), Loris Capirossi (Ducati) and Max Biaggi (Honda) dominated the 23-lap race in ...
Sweltering conditions in Italy prove tough for Fortuna Yamaha.
The Italian Grand Prix in Mugello today became an all Italian affair after Valentino Rossi (Honda), Loris Capirossi (Ducati) and Max Biaggi (Honda) dominated the 23-lap race in sweltering conditions - finishing in the same order. Spurred on by a massive home crowd the trio left the remaining 20-bike field in their wake. Despite all efforts made by Fortuna Yamaha team-mates Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri the duo were unable to match the intense pace this weekend and eventually ended the day with a disappointing eighth and 11th place respectively.
After a solid start, which saw Checa as high as fifth in the opening few corners, the Spaniard dropped back to eighth by the end of the first lap, yet looked set to remain in contention up until half race distance. At this point the 30-year-old was back in the top six, and looking threatening with only a 4.4 second deficit to the race leader. That was until Checa lost his rhythm and began to lose touch with the battle for fourth - which included Makoto Tamada (Honda), Shinya Nakano (d'Antin Yamaha Team), Tohru Ukawa (Honda) and Sete Gibernau (Honda), who finished in that order.
"I can't be satisfied with the final result but overall we did a good job," said Checa. "The team have worked very hard, everyone has pushed themselves to their own limits; the technical side in the garage, and me on the track. Nakano did well all weekend on his Yamaha so we know that we had more potential. We will take today's experience with us to Barcelona. At least I felt a bit better during the race and especially felt good on the bike at the beginning, but at the end I was behind by about 1½ seconds and it was difficult to close the gap any more.
"My main aim right now is to find a good pace, and I'm not entirely sure how to achieve that right now. We need to work carefully again from here and analyse the technical data from the race. I will talk with my technicians and we'll look at the chassis side of things, perhaps in a slightly different direction."
All hopes for a top five result at Marco Melandri's home Grand Prix came to an end when a technical problem prevented him from achieving his goal in the most crucial points on the 5245m circuit. The 20-year-old Italian, who won the 250cc race here last year, was confident and feeling good on the YZR-M1 during the opening few laps. Melandri featured as high as sixth in the race, and was still making solid progress when it became difficult to ride in third gear on his factory machine - which proved too much of a deficit to overcome at such an intense pace.
"That was not such a good race," lamented Melandri, who was hoping for a better result than eleventh position today in front of his home crowd. "I had a problem with the clutch, and the bike was jumping a lot. Most of all I had problems when I was in third gear, so on most of the corners, especially the two Arrabbiata corners. I couldn't open the throttle and therefore couldn't push hard in all the corners.
"At the beginning when the tyres were new it wasn't quite so bad but I had to balance my weight on the front and enter the corners very fast. When the tyres wore out more through the race I felt myself getting slower, and the problem increased as the tyres wore out. In the last lap I overtook Olivier (Jacque) about three times but then he overtook me again."
"It wasn't the best day for Fortuna Yamaha," said Team Director of the Fortuna Yamaha Team, Davide Brivio. "Of course our congratulations go to Shinya Nakano and his Yamaha team, who have performed well all weekend. Carlos rode well at the beginning of the race and put up a good fight but seemed to lose something towards the end and couldn't keep the same pace that he found at the beginning, although he is feeling a bit better with the bike generally. Next race will be his real home Grand Prix, in Catalunya, so he'll have to pull off a good race!
"We have found out that Marco had electronic problems when running in third gear and apologies to him for that. He has again shown his maturity, strength and potential this weekend and was looking so good at the start but unfortunately he was prevented from gaining any more positions. We are pleased with his continuing progress with the M1. Both riders are capable of more than we are currently achieving and our team will do everything to support them to change that."
RESULTS 1. Valentino Rossi ITA Repsol HONDA 43'28.008 2. Loris Capirossi ITA DUCATI Marlboro Team +1.416 3. Max Biaggi ITA Camel Pramac Pons HONDA +4.576 4. Makoto Tamada JPN Pramac HONDA +13.210 5. Shinya Nakano JPN d'Antin YAMAHA Team +13.411 6. Tohru Ukawa JPN Camel Pramac Pons HONDA +13.666 7. Sete Gibernau SPA Telefonica Movistar HONDA +14.253 8. CARLOS CHECA SPA Fortuna YAMAHA Team +22.811 9. Colin Edwards USA Alice APRILIA Racing +33.056 10. Olivier Jacque FRA Gauloises YAMAHA Team +38.882
11. MARCO MELANDRI ITA Fortuna YAMAHA Team +38.977
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS 1. Valentino Rossi 115 2. Max Biaggi 83 3. Sete Gibernau 72 4. Alex Barros 46 5. Tohru Ukawa 42 6. Troy Bayliss 40 7. Loris Capirossi 36 8. Shinya Nakano 33 9. Olivier Jacque 32 10. Nicky Hayden 26
13. CARLOS CHECA 21 20. MARCO MELANDRI 6