Rain Blights First Day of Testing in Barcelona For Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Men The complete MotoGP paddock was back on European ground for the first time this year as day one of the official Catalunya IRTA tests got under way near Barcelona.
Rain Blights First Day of Testing in Barcelona For Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Men
The complete MotoGP paddock was back on European ground for the first time this year as day one of the official Catalunya IRTA tests got under way near Barcelona. A sunny but cold morning saw some good times posted by the re-formed pack of MotoGP riders, before the afternoon gave way to heavy rain. Like most other riders, Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha team-mates Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa, who had limbered up their M1 machines with a display for the public in the streets of Barcelona yesterday at the Team's 2004 launch, chose not to resume testing in the wet and spent the afternoon working with their teams in the Yamaha pit garage.
Before the weather broke, reigning World Champion and new Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi posted the second fastest time of the day during a consistent 27 laps, recording a time of 1'45.542. This was a fraction of a second behind Brazilian Alex Barros, (1'45.464) on his Honda. After Rossi came last year's Championship runner-up Sete Gibernau (Honda - 1 '45.803) and Kenny Roberts on his Suzuki machine (1'45.855). Rossi's team-mate, local favourite Carlos Checa had a less satisfying day on paper, finishing with the twelfth fastest time of 1'46.834. However this was his first session testing Yamaha's latest engine spec and he concentrated more on set-up than times.
Valentino Rossi (1'45.542, 27 laps)
"We made some progress today, but not so much because it was raining. Like last year here, the temperature is too cold and therefore so were the tyres; the conditions are really different to those of the Grand Prix in the summer here! I've had a few braking problems which have been quite difficult to control, but my times have been quite good. We've been working quite slowly but we've got a bit more potential. I'm also extremely happy because I was on the circuit Security Committee last year and I suggested some modifications to this circuit, and now all that I asked for has been changed."
Carlos Checa (1'46.834, 27 laps)
"I went out at 13:00 hours, as the track conditions were not right until then and I thought the weather would be okay later. I hope tomorrow I can do more! I tested the new engine spec today, it helps in many areas but we are looking to find a better balance, especially in the front area. There is still not enough comfort and I don't feel a huge amount of difference with the chassis, but I do feel the engine improvement.
Davide Brivio - Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team Director
"Unfortunately the weather didn't allow us to do what we wanted, but it was an interesting day. This is a new track for Valentino this year and it was good for him to feel how the bike responded. It was not too bad and he was near the top of the time sheet so this is a good sign. Carlos tested the new engine which he agrees helps and is good for him too. However the weather stopped him from continuing to work on the chassis. It was a good day but we are hoping for better weather tomorrow."
<pre> Times: 1. Alex Barros (BRA) Repsol Honda 1'45.464 2. VALENTINO ROSSI (ITA) GAULOISES FORTUNA YAMAHA 1'45.542 3. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot 1'45.803 4. Kenny Roberts (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP 1'45.855 5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Repsol Honda 1'45.913 6. Makoto Tamada (JPN) Camel Honda 1'45.949 7. Colin Edwards (USA) Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot 1'46.165 8. Shinichi Itoh (JPN) Pramac Honda 1'46.281 9. Max Biaggi (ITA) Camel Honda 1'46.424 10. John Hopkins (USA) Team Suzuki MotoGP 1'46.782
12. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) GAULOISES FORTUNA YAMAHA 1'46.834