Yamaha Factory Racing Tests Phillip Island, Australia Wednesday, February 18, 2004 Ambient temperature: 21 degrees Humidity: 50 percent Yamaha MotoGP Men Make Steady Progress Down Under Yamaha's two MotoGP teams spent a mostly successful ...
Yamaha Factory Racing Tests
Phillip Island, Australia
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Ambient temperature: 21 degrees
Humidity: 50 percent
Yamaha MotoGP Men Make Steady Progress Down Under
Yamaha's two MotoGP teams spent a mostly successful second day testing at the Australian Phillip Island circuit today in near perfect sunny but breezy conditions alongside several of their MotoGP competitors. The morning was unfortunately marred when ex-World Superbike rider and MotoGP rookie Ruben Xaus (Ducati) had a bad fall coming out of a right-hand corner. The Spaniard was flown to a Melbourne hospital by helicopter with concussion but is said to be recovering under observation. Yamaha rider Norick Abe walked away unharmed from a fall in the final stages of the session, and chose to sit out the last 20 minutes while debriefing with his crew.
Twenty-five-year-old reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi took the second fastest time of the day (1'30.76), seven-tenths of a second faster than the time that he set yesterday, and just 0.05 seconds from leader of today's time charts, Ducati rider Loris Capirossi (1'30.71). Spanish Sete Gibernau (Honda) closely followed the pair with a best time of 1'30.81, while fellow Honda pair Max Biaggi and Nicky Hayden set impressive respective times of 1' 31.07 and 1'31.18. Fortuna Gauloises Yamaha rider Marco Melandri was second fastest of the Yamaha line-up with a best time of 1'31.70.
Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha rider Rossi continued to test one engine spec today, which he will continue with for the final day of testing tomorrow. Towards the end of the day the youthful Italian tested new tyres with team partner Michelin. Meanwhile his Spanish team-mate Carlos Checa continued to make small set-up alterations, while Tech 3 rider Melandri enjoyed his best day of testing so far this year while recovering from a shoulder operation he had in October. Melandri's colleague Norick Abe also had a much better day, until his unlucky fall stopped his session slightly early.
Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha) 70 laps, 1'30.76
"I'm very happy in general, the engine works very well here, and the difference is quite clear from the other engine spec we tried before. We still need to find more horsepower as that's where we are losing out to the others at the moment. We tested some new Michelin tyres towards the end of the day which was quite helpful, and in general we're taking our time to find the ideal set-up rather than going flat out for hot laps. We hope to do a race simulation tomorrow, and who knows, maybe we can improve on this good lap time."
Carlos Checa (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha) 70 laps, 1'31.80
"I am a bit disappointed today because we still couldn't get to the level we are looking for. We kept trying for a more competitive set-up but didn't find it. We're working with the same engine spec, and are still making minor chassis alterations. We planned to put in a fresh engine for tomorrow, the last day of the test, so we stopped a bit early today. I really hope we make a breakthrough tomorrow."
Davide Brivio (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team Director)
"We have mixed feelings in the team because Valentino and his crew were very pleased with the job they made, and the rider is very positive with the changes made to suspension and engine. He is up there with the top group and has been both in Sepang and here, so even though we know we still have a lot of work to do for him, it's a positive and motivating situation. Carlos, on the other hand, had a difficult day again and is still struggling to find his way at this circuit and feel totally comfortable with the bike. We will help him as much as we can to remedy this situation, his crew are working extremely hard as always, and will continue in the same way tomorrow."
Marco Melandri (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3) 84 laps, 1'31.70
"It was a difficult day but it was better than yesterday because we made more consistent laps, and tested different rear tyres. Some of the tyres were better than others and it was clear which were better. We're still using the 16.5 inch front tyres and we made some more very small suspension settings. I would really like to try and go for 15 to 20 laps in a row tomorrow but the only problem is that I feel so tired right now. If we do that many laps we will have to do them in the morning because I don't know if I will last until the afternoon! My shoulder and my back are aching now; I'm so exhausted from doing so many laps today. Anyway, in general I'm feeling quite positive, much more so than in Sepang."
Guy Colon (Marco's Crew Chief):
"Marco's time was better today, he did many consistently good lap times close to 1'32.0. We did some good work with the chassis and good work with the engine braking system. We have really made improvements since Sepang. We also did a good tyre test with Michelin. He did so many laps that he was worn out at the end of the day but his condition is getting better every day. Tomorrow we hope to do many more laps in a row, in preparation for the race here."
Norick Abe (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3) 54 laps, 1'33.74
"Still not such a good day for me today but I tried many different settings and I was feeling okay towards the end of the day before I fell off. I hit my head when I fell but I feel okay now. I finished early though as I thought that would be safer than going straight out again after hitting my head. We have another day tomorrow and then 3 days next time we're here. I don't want to crash again so I'm going to take it a bit easier tomorrow, but at least I managed to improve my lap time slightly today."