Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi completed a useful two-day test session at Mugello this week before going into GP racing's three-week midsummer break. The Spaniard and Italian evaluated a number of improvements to ...
Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi completed a useful two-day test session at Mugello this week before going into GP racing's three-week midsummer break.
The Spaniard and Italian evaluated a number of improvements to their YZR500s which should give them a crucial boost when the racing gets underway again at the Czech GP on August 20. Checa currently lies second in the 500 World Championship behind points leader Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) and needs a good result at Brno to re-ignite his title challenge. Biaggi also looks towards Brno to give him his first win of the 2000 season.
"We had a lot of different stuff we wanted to test," said Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust. "We've had so much rain at GPs so far this year that it has sometimes been difficult to find a clear way forward. These tests enabled us to try some chassis changes, improving stability and turn-in, some engine management work and some work on tyres. Since Michelin re-introduced its 16.5in front there's a bigger than ever choice of tyres, so we needed to find a direction on the guys' tyre preferences. Both guys have gone away happy with what we've achieved and looking forward to a bit of a break. GP seasons are always hard work and the whole team deserves some time off."
The team chose Mugello because Brno was fully booked and the Italian track mimics many of Brno's characteristics, especially with its numerous off-camber turns. Despite steaming-hot conditions, with track temperatures over 45 degrees, and a slightly dirty surface, both men put in some fast laps, Biaggi bettering this year's Italian GP pole time, set by Alex Barros (Honda) at 1m 52.811s.
"I'm feeling positive about the race at Brno," said Checa, who had a torrid time at last weekend's German GP. "There were a few things I wanted to focus on and the bike feels better as a result. The team has been working really hard, I want to thank them for that, now I'm heading home before going to the Marlboro Masters at Zandvoort next weekend."
Biaggi also pronounced himself happy with progress during the tests, during which he built up a strong relationship with Michelin's 16.5in front. "I'm satisfied, it was definitely worth coming here. We needed to spend some time working on chassis and tyres, and we did some useful work on power delivery, which has been one of my main priorities."
Checa's next duty is at the big Marlboro Masters event at Zandvoort on August 5/6 when he shares the track with four-wheels stars including Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro F1 drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello and Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart aces Tommi Mäkinen and Freddy Loix.
Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 1m 52.7s
Carlos Checa (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 1m 53.2s