Catalunya, Spain Sunday March 10 2002 Checa and Biaggi Complete European Testing Phase Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi were fourth and seventh fastest at this weekend's IRTA Catalunya tests, their last European outing...
Sunday March 10 2002
Checa and Biaggi Complete European Testing Phase
Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi were fourth and seventh fastest at this weekend's IRTA Catalunya tests, their last European outing before heading to Japan at the end of this month where they will test at Suzuka, venue for the season-opening Japanese GP on April 7. Valentino Rossi (Honda) was fastest at the close of the two-day session.
This afternoon Checa improved on his Saturday best by over three tenths and left the circuit in positive mood. "I'm comfortable in the mid-45s and I think we did a good job," said the Spaniard. "I gave the best feedback I could and we were able to improve the suspension balance which gives me better front-end feel. Ohlins and Michelin are also important in this area, not just Yamaha. We've found a not-so-bad compromise but at the moment it's not enough, Rossi is the fastest and most consistent, so I think he will be the man to beat at Suzuka.
"We need to improve, we need to grow up step by step, and quickly, but I'm quite optimistic. This year our team has more resources and more interest to develop the bike around myself and Max."
Biaggi was fractionally slower than yesterday, and, like Checa, knows that he and the team have some serious work ahead of them. "The biggest problem for me is turn-in into the corners, keeping the bike turning mid-corner and throttle-to-engine connection when I'm accelerating out of the corners," said the Italian. "I'm trying to be positive but I need another chassis if I'm to be competitive and we also need to work on the engine because it hits too hard, so I'm losing time out of the corners."
YZR-M1 project leader Ichiro Yoda says new engine and chassis parts will be forthcoming for the opening MotoGP World Championship round. "We'll have new engine parts to increase acceleration and top speed as well as new chassis parts," he said. "Today we continued work on set-up for this track, mainly suspension settings and also tyre choice. We've found some direction on tyres and we'll give this information to Michelin, as well as using it internally to fix some problems with the chassis and suspension. We did improve Carlos' front-end feeling today by adjusting weight transfer, which has helped him both into corners and out of corners."
<pre> LAP TIMES 1. Valentino Rossi ITA (Repsol HONDA Team) 1'44.280 2. Loris Capirossi ITA (West HONDA Pons) 1'44.483 3. Tohru Ukawa JPN (Repsol HONDA Team) 1'44.611 4. CARLOS CHECA SPA (MARLBORO YAMAHA TEAM) 1'45.229 5. Alex Barros BRA (West HONDA Pons) 1'45.405 6. Daijiro Katoh JPN (Fortuna HONDA Gresini) 1'45.448 7. MAX BIAGGI ITA (MARLBORO YAMAHA TEAM) 1'45.658