Yamaha at Barcelona

The following is a release from the Fortuna Yamaha team...


The Fortuna Yamaha Team completed two days of testing in glorious sunshine at Barcelona's Montmelo circuit today. The squad was present along with Yamaha partners the Gauloises Yamaha Team and Team D'Antin Yamaha as well as the Ducati and Suzuki MotoGP teams. The test was scheduled to replace valuable time lost to poor weather during February. It comes ahead of this weekend's two-day official IRTA test that should see all the MotoGP contenders go head to head for the first time in 2003.

Spaniard Carlos Checa completed a total of 54 laps today on his Yamaha YZR-M1 before a fall put an end to his track time. He was disappointed with his time of 1:44.9 despite the fact that it is almost seven-tenths of a second faster than the lap record and a third of a second quicker than his 2002 qualifying time. Checa, who finished third in last year's Barcelona race, explained: "Yesterday we started with the same settings we had when we tested here before, but I was struggling to go as fast. We changed a few things today and the bike was feeling better but I crashed at the last corner on a hot lap. Maybe I was just pushing too hard or perhaps the tires weren't quite up to temperature. It's good in a way that we can try again on Saturday with the bike rebuilt."

Checa's new teammate in the Fortuna Yamaha squad, Italian 250cc World Champion Marco Melandri, was back to fitness for the test following a shoulder injury sustained in Estoril last month. He was once again working on the fuel-injection settings on his Yamaha YZR-M1 having only recently switched from the 2002-spec carburettor version of the four-stroke machine. He completed 67 laps with a best time of 1:45.7.

"The track feels quite bumpy and the grip level is not so good which adds an extra complication to set-up," said the 20-year-old Melandri. "We have had to make quite a few changes since last time I rode here because the weather is a lot warmer. It's good to be back on the bike and I am feeling quite comfortable. It's good that we have another two days here and it will be interesting to see how I am doing compared to all my new rivals."

Lap Times

Alex Barros, Gauloises Yamaha Team 1:44.4 (87 laps)

Carlos Checa, Fortuna Yamaha Team 1:44.9 (54 laps)

Shinya Nakano, Team D'Antin Yamaha 1:45.1 (52 laps)

Olivier Jacque, Gauloises Yamaha Team 1:45.4 (60 laps)

Marco Melandri, Fortuna Yamaha Team 1:45.7 (67 laps)
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George Obradovich
George Obradovich

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