Yamaha Completes Test

After completing its second pre-season test, held in Valencia January 25-27, the factory Yamaha MotoGP contingent departs the Spanish venue satisfied with its progress and is now looking forward to continuing the development of the latest spec YZR-M1. Alex Barros maintained his end of the season form to set the pace on the Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1, yet again. The 32-year-old posted a 1’32.8, circulating one full second under his own 2002 official circuit lap record, set during the final MotoGP, and half a second faster than the circuits best ever lap – a 1’33.211 set by Max Biaggi .

With weather conditions proving to be much more agreeable than the recent three-day Jerez test Barros was able to concentrate his efforts on tire and chassis development. Meanwhile his Gauloises Yamaha teammate Olivier Jacque was absent from the Valencia program in an effort to allow his right wrist, which recently saw the removal of several pins, to heal sufficiently for the February IRTA test.

“After the Jerez test we were somewhat disappointed but this Valencia test was a completely different story,” said Gauloises Yamaha Team Manager Hervé Poncharal. “We were very happy with the impressive times that Barros achieved, but more importantly he did them consistently. It’s also very positive that Barros is adapting to the M1 so quickly and the team too. We spent most of our time testing tires because we feel this is the key to a successful year, and judging from the results Michelin is as driven as we are to succeed.”

The potential of the 2003 YZR-M1 was underlined by the performance of Spaniard Carlos Checa (Fortuna Yamaha Team, 1’32.9), who lapped the 4005m circuit only one tenth slower than the Brazilian, despite a tumble. Checa focused his efforts on developing the latest fuel-injection offering.

"Our target for this test was to improve many things including chassis set-up and continuing development of the fuel-injection system," said Checa. "There is still progress to be made in these areas. However I am very pleased because today I set a time almost one second faster than my qualifying time from my last race here. For me the most important thing now is to ensure that Yamaha and I head in the right direction leading up to the first race."

Checa's Fortuna Yamaha teammate Marco Melandri (1’34.7) was disappointed with his performance after a number of minor tumbles, but is looking forward to the next tests. "Today has not been great as I've have had some engine troubles. Although I completed many laps and achieved a great deal it was frustrating because I had to come in and out of the pits many times," explained the young Italian.

Shinya Nakano (d’Antin Yamaha, 1’33.7) also spent the majority of the three-days testing tires and his race distance endurance. “I’m very happy because I’ve been able to try many things,” said Nakano. “We tested different chassis' and we have found a good set-up for the future IRT test.”

Lap times (best of 3 days)

Alex Barros, Gauloises Yamaha Team 1'32.8
Carlos Checa, Fortuna Yamaha Team 1'32.9
Shinya Nakano, d'Antin Yamaha 1'33.7
Marco Melandri, Fortuna Yamaha Team 1'34.7
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George Obradovich
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