Yamaha Factory Racing Tests Phillip Island, Australia Tuesday, February 17, 2004 Ambient temperature: 23 degrees Track temperature: 41 degrees Humidity: 60 percent Work got underway in Australia today as Yamaha's MotoGP teams began ...
Yamaha Factory Racing Tests
Phillip Island, Australia
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Ambient temperature: 23 degrees
Track temperature: 41 degrees
Humidity: 60 percent
Work got underway in Australia today as Yamaha's MotoGP teams began a three-day test in a windy yet sunny Phillip Island alongside Honda, Ducati and Aprilia. The teams arrived at the weekend directly from Malaysia, where Yamaha have spent a total of six days testing so far this year. This move will be mirrored later in the season with back-to-back GPs in Sepang and Phillip Island, so the teams were looking forward to seeing how the bikes reacted to the move.
World Champion and Yamaha new-recruit Valentino Rossi, who celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday, posted the third fastest unofficial time of the day, recording 1'31.40 towards the end of the session. Just in front of him were Honda riders Colin Edwards (1'31.06) and Sete Gibernau (1'31.37) whilst fellow Italian Max Biaggi (Honda) recorded exactly the same time as Rossi. New Honda team-mates Nicky Hayden (1'31.67) and Alex Barros (1'31.75) came next, with Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider Carlos Checa putting in a pleasing time of 1'32.32, despite having a few problems.
Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha men Rossi and Checa both began the day with the set-ups they used in Sepang, keen to see how the bikes would respond at the new circuit. Rossi carried on working with one of the new engine specs he first tested last week while team-mate Checa continued to work on general set-up rather than pushing for a 'hot-lap.' The Fortuna Gauloises Yamaha squad of Marco Melandri and Norick Abe had a day of mixed fortunes. Melandri, who fought for the lead here in October before falling, was pleased with his progress today but Abe had a more frustrating time and was unable to find a comfortable set up.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha) 89 laps, 1'31.40
"This is one of my favourite circuits; some of my best memories of winning have been here. This is a really important test for us because we are seeing how the bike responds at a new circuit, and so far we've only tested in Sepang. I'm quite happy so far but have had some small problems today with the gearbox, something we've already fixed. Yamaha are really motivated and are helping me to try the new things I want to try. The response of the bike here is good in general, and this is normally a very difficult track so I'm fairly happy. We need to get as many kilometres as possible under our belt this week. "
Carlos Checa (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha) 76 laps, 1'32.58
"I've still got big problems with the bike when turning. I can't find stability at certain points of the track, which is frustrating. We've been trying different settings again today but I feel a bit like we are against a wall with nowhere to go! We began with the same set-up as at the race last year and then softened the front and rear, which was an improvement. Hopefully tomorrow will be better."
Marco Melandri (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3) 75 laps, 1'32.58
"This has been much better than in Sepang. We are working well and I am happy because I can rider for more consecutive laps. My fitness level has improved a lot - at the end of the day I was able to ride for ten laps, then have a short rest, then ride for ten more. The race here is 27 laps in total so this is promising. I had a little pain in my shoulder on the last few laps but in general I am really pleased because I have a better feeling with the bike. I did most laps with older tyres so I was not going for a fast time."
Norick Abe (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3) 69 laps, 1'34.40
"Today was so bad for me! We started with the Sepang set-up but at this circuit it was totally wrong. Normally when I change circuit I don't have to change set-up much but here we have had to make many changes. It is a shame because I was always good here with the 500cc. I hope it will be better tomorrow!"