<pre> MARLBORO YAMAHA TEAM TESTS Mugello, Italy May 10/11 2001 <pre> Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa have completed animportant test session at Mugello in preparation for next Sunday's FrenchGP. The scheduled...
<pre> MARLBORO YAMAHA TEAM TESTS
Mugello, Italy May 10/11 2001
<pre> Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa have completed animportant test session at Mugello in preparation for next Sunday's FrenchGP. The scheduled outing followed a difficult Spanish GP weekend and has revitalised the pair - Biaggi lapping well inside the track record and Checa regaining confidence after his huge Jerez tumble.
Biaggi finished 11th at Jerez following a mid-race, off-track excursion,the result not doing justice to the lap times he was running in the latestages. At Mugello his best 1m 52.9s lap put him almost half a secondinside the record, confirming that the Italian doesn't lack any speed, justa little luck."I've been swapping from one bike to the other, trying a few settingschanges, nothing too radical," said Biaggi who rode two days on isYZR500s, after several earlier outings on Yamaha's new YZR-M1 four-strokeGP bike. "We've been working on detail stuff, including some engine work,and we've also done some good tyre testing."
Checa only rode the last day, allowing him more time to recover from hisbruising Jerez get-off. He was less focused on outright lap times, more onregaining his confidence. And the brave Spanish reckons his injuriesaccounted for at least a second of his best 1m 54.5s lap."Doing a fast lap here is all about getting through the high-speed chicanesas fast as possible," he explained. "But at the moment I've not got the strength to flick the bike hard through the direction changes. We've been concentrating on a few minor suspension settings, nothing else, I just wanted to feel good on the bike again and I definitely feel better than I did at Jerez.
"Marlboro Yamaha Team director Hiroya Atsumi believes the session achievedits goals. "I think this test helped both Max and Carlos," he said. "Max has worked on suspension, damping and grip as well as trying new cylinders,and his pace is very good. I think it shows that there's no problem, we just need things to go our way a little. Carlos is still very injured, sohe couldn't go for best-possible lap times, but the kilometres he's donehave helped him to get his feeling back before practice starts at Le Mans."
Not only was Biaggi very quick at Mugello, he was also very consistent, as Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust revealed: "He did five consecutivelow 53s and that's a good pace around here. And he was doing some really good times with worn tyres, still putting in 54s after 20 laps on a rear and doing mid-54s with 30 laps on the front. Of course, Max is a perfectionist, he's always trying to find that last little bit, he always wants more out of the motorcycle and that's what we're always trying to give him. We've tested some stuff here that we wouldn't have had time to try out at a race, now we're just looking forward to getting to Le Mans and going racing."
Practice and qualifying for next Sunday's French GP gets under way on Friday. The event is round four of this year's 16-race MotoGP series, the final 500 two-stroke World Championship before up to 990cc four-strokes are introduced in 2002.
Lap time Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 1m 52.9 Carlos Checa s (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 1m 54.5 s