RC211V at Barcelona

Calvin Kim
by Calvin Kim
HRC continued their winter test programme at the 4.427km Montmelo circuit,close to Barcelona, Spain, today with team rider Tohru Ukawa and their mostexperienced test rider, former GP star Shinichi Itoh. World 500cc ChampionValentino Rossi did not test at Montmelo today.

The fast Montmelo circuit places different demands on a racing motorcyclethan the tight 4.423km Jerez track, where the team tested the RCV lastweek. The contrast in speed and type of corners found at the two trackswill allow HRC engineers to assess the RCV's all-round performance in muchbroader terms.

Despite the low track surface temperatures the team accomplished much.Ukawa and Itoh were both running at close to 500cc lap record time of 1m46.619s, established by Rossi at the grand prix in June of this year.

In fact they lapped the track under Rossi's lap record time but almost asecond slower than the 2001 pole position time. Ukawa's was fastest with abest time of 1m 46.37s, with Itoh slightly slower at 1m 46.60s.

Tohru Ukawa: "I'm pleased with the performance of the RCV here. We havemainly worked on the suspension today, trying to get the machine set-up forthis track. The work we did at Jerez last week has given us an idea of thedirection we have to take and I'm pleased with the results of today's test."

Shinichi Itoh: "We did a lot of work on the bike today. It was good to testthe RCV in such different conditions to those at Jerez. Not only thedifference in track lay-out but the surface temperature, which was muchlower than it was at Jerez, and there was not much grip."

The Honda Gresini team also attended the Barcelona test with reigning 250ccWorld Champion Daijiro Katoh testing the NSR500 he will race in 2002, andthe team's new 250cc rider Roberto Rolfo who continued to acquaint himselfwith the individual characteristics of the Honda, and the workings of hisnew team.

Rolfo's 250cc team-mate, Emilio Alzamora, completed very few laps beforeparking his NSR250. Alzamora badly bruised his knee in a Super Motard eventat Madrid on Sunday. The knee was still painful and gave him no feelingfrom the track top while cornering, and making it difficult for him to movearound on the bike. He wisely called it a day after a few laps.

Daijiro Katoh: "This track is much faster than Jerez and I feel more athome on the bike here. A much better feeling. We've been working to get thebike to handle on this track, mainly suspension, and I must say I'm happierwith the results so far. We will see how things go tomorrow but I'mconfident we will improve still more."

Roberto Rolfo: "Like the other riders at this test I'm going much betterthan at Jerez. Each time I ride the bike I learn something. I'm beginningto understand the bike better and I'm adjusting my style to suit the bikeand the bike to suit my style. We were working n the suspension today andI'm getting to know how the set up works. Because of the cold temperaturesthere was not much grip today but I'm pleased with what we achieved."


Tohru Ukawa RC211V 1m 46.37s 63 laps.
Shinichi Itoh RC211V 1m 46.60s 51 laps.

Daijiro Katoh NSR500 1m 46.4s 37 laps.

Roberto Rolfo NSR250 1m 50.3s 50 laps.

HRC Test Session Barcelona. December 6, 2001.
Weather; sunny but cold, track temperature 21' high - 11' low; trackconditions, good.

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