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Jan 18, 2002

Contract Dispute Means Honda Will Test Without Rossi In Malaysia

World Champion Valentino Rossi and his manager walked out of a meeting with HRC officials without Rossi signing a new contract to race for Honda, and now Honda will resume pre-season testing without Rossi.<BR><BR>From a press release issued by Honda:<BR><BR>Honda Racing News<BR><BR>HRC Team Test Sepang, Malaysia<BR>January 18, 2002.<BR><BR>Team HRC will test the RC211V at the Sepang circuit, Malaysia, on January 21-23.<BR><BR>Team rider Tohru Ukawa, and HRC test rider Shinichi Itoh, will test the 5-cylinder, 990cc MotoGP machine at the 5.548km circuit. The main objective of the test will be to test new tyres from Michelin and several small modifications made to the machine using the data obtained from the HRC tests in Spain and Australia, late last year.<BR><BR>Valentino Rossi will not attend the test. Rossi and HRC have yet to reach agreement on a few contract details. Both parties are confident these minor differences can be resolved in time for the following test planned for February.<BR><BR>Team Honda Gresini rider Daijiro Katoh will test the NSR500 he will campaign in the 2002 championship.<BR><BR>They will be joined by Team Honda Pons riders Loris Capirossi and Alex Barros for their first serious track testing of the winter.<BR><BR>Lap times from the test will be distributed on each day of the test.