Rossi and Checa Make The Most of Last Test in Estoril The gruelling schedule of the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team continued today at the Estoril circuit in Portugal, where Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa made more impressive lap times aboard...
Rossi and Checa Make The Most of Last Test in Estoril
The gruelling schedule of the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team continued today at the Estoril circuit in Portugal, where Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa made more impressive lap times aboard their YZR-M1 machines. Fresh from Rossi's sixth victory of the year in yesterday's Portuguese Grand Prix, this was the Factory team's last chance to test before the season finale in October. Championship leader Rossi spent the day testing a new exhaust system, new engine parts, and continuing to test electronic controls, while team-mate Checa continued working on various settings with his M1 machine, with both riders sampling a variety of tyres for Michelin.
Rossi and Checa were joined out on track by Honda rivals Sete Gibernau and Colin Edwards, the Kawasaki pairing of Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann, as well as lone Proton rider Nobuatsu Aoki. Rossi made 80 laps in total with a best time of 1'38.31s, and with all scheduled tests completed today, leaves Estoril tonight for a well-earned short break before heading off for next weekend's Japanese race at the Motegi circuit. Checa, who completed 76 laps today with a best time of 1'38.90, will continue to test tomorrow.
"We tried new pipes, a different exhaust system, it's good and I like it", commented Rossi. "From the bottom power level, the engine characteristic becomes more smooth and sweet. I like it. We tested it all day and everyone agreed it's good."
Of the challenge that faces him in the final five races of the season, Rossi said, "There are only five races to go, and I think Motegi will be the most difficult as it's a Honda track. It will for sure be difficult but we've worked well today, and our target is for a podium in Motegi. There would be more pressure if we were 29 points behind rather than 29 points ahead as we have now, so I'm happy to be leading the championship. To be ahead with Yamaha is fantastic, we will try to make five great races together, Yamaha and I."
Team Director Davide Brivio was pleased with the progress of both riders, commenting, "Everything is working well, we seem to have made a small step today. Once again it was a good test, we tested a lot of tyres for Michelin again. It's our last chance to test before the end of the season and with five races to go, so we wanted to improve and check as many things as possible. We have concluded our plan so we hope to be prepared for these last races.
"Carlos worked again on his bike setting and improved his lap times from yesterday, so it was a positive test for him. Valentino also had a beneficial day, which I think could put us in a good position for the final part of the championship."
Carlos Checa will continue testing at the Estoril circuit tomorrow before the team packs up and heads out of Europe for the string of intercontinental races in Japan, Qatar, Malaysia and Australia before returning for the last round in Valencia, Spain on 31st October.
<pre> UNOFFICIAL LAP TIMES: 1. Sete Gibernau Honda 1'37.63 74 laps 2. Colin Edwards Honda 1'38.08 71 laps 3. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'38.31 80 laps 4. Carlos Checa Yamaha 1'38.90 76 laps 5. Shinya Nakano Kawasaki 1'39.63 58 laps 6. Alex Hofmann Kawasaki 1'39.97 65 laps 7. Nobuatsu Aoki Proton 1'39.63 58 laps 8. Nobuatsu Aoki with KTM engine 1'43.18 21 laps