Nov 27, 2001
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From a press release:<BR><BR>Rossi and Ukawa Give RC211V European Debut<BR><BR>Reigning 500cc World Champion Valentino Rossi and teammate Tohru Ukawa tested their RC211V 5-cylinder Hondas in Europe for the first time today.<BR><BR>The test, held at the 4.423km Jerez circuit, in southern Spain, was the first time the 990cc grand prix machine had been put through its paces by Rossi. Ukawa had previously tested the machine in Japan.<BR><BR>Rossi, from Tavullia in Italy, completed 46 laps on the RCV lowering his lap time with each session on the 200HP-plus race machine.<BR><BR>The young Italian said. "The bike is good, and it has great potential. Honda have been very skilful in developing and modifying the machine after the Suzuka test (August 7). They have improved the bike in almost every area that I asked them to.<BR><BR>"Today we just started on the set-up of the bike to suit Jerez and, of course, we have a lot of work to do over the next two days. In general I must say everything is positive."<BR><BR>Japanese star Ukawa was as impressed as his team-mate. "The machine is much better than at the Suzuka test. Today we worked on set up and I ran 72 laps as part of an endurance test. I have a very good feeling on the machine and, at the moment, I think the machine will give me an advantage when the season begins at Suzuka next April," Ukawa commented.<BR><BR>HRC Team Manager Mr. N. Nakata said, "Today was the first day of our three-day test so we concentrated on machine set-up for this track. Regarding the RCV, Valentino did 46 laps with a best time of 1:43.1 and Tohru Ukawa made a time of 1:43.5 and covered 72 laps. We are satisfied with the progress we made today, the test programme is on schedule."<BR><BR>HRC also brought the Honda Gresini Team to Jerez, where newly crowned 250cc World Champion Daijiro Katoh tested the NSR500 V-4 two-stroke he will campaign in 2002. Gresini Honda new-boy Roberto Rolfo made his acquaintance with the NSR250 V-Twin two-stroke he will race next season, alongside teammate Emilio Alzamora.<BR><BR>At the end of the first of three days testing Katoh said of the NSR500, "Everything is so different from the 250 I raced this year. I have so much more power with the NSR500, it's really fun to ride the bike. But the machine is not set-up for me, riding position, suspension, everything, so I need a lot more time on the bike. The Dunlop tyres are good."<BR><BR>Rolfo was impressed with his new charge. "I'm very happy with the work I did today with my new team. My general feeling is that the bike is very good, and I have a very good feeling about the way the team work. In general I'm satisfied with my first day on the Honda. Now I have the bike set up for tomorrow."<BR><BR>Alzamora, who put in a few laps on the NSR250, commented. "The team have changed the riding position for me to test, everything is almost the same as when I got off the bike the last time. This test is just for me to try the new position and get in some track time."<BR><BR>Team Kanemoto Honda brought their 2002 team to Jerez and team rider, Dutchman Jurgen van der Goorbergh, gave the team's Bridgestone-shod NSR500 its first shake-down test. Van der Goorbergh, riding the V-4 Honda for the first time, was happy with his first day's work for the team.<BR><BR>He said, "My first impression of the NSR500 was not a surprise, I expected it to be this good. I expected the huge power but not the smooth delivery. The bike is very stable, particularly under braking, which is very good. I only did 27 laps today as we are setting the bike up for the next two days. The Bridgestone tyres very stable and made the bike comfortable to ride. I'm very happy with that."<BR><BR>Lap times:<BR><BR>Valentino Rossi, RC211V, 1:43.1, 46 laps<BR><BR>Tohru Ukawa, RC211V, 1:43.5, 72 laps<BR><BR>Daijiro Katoh, NSR500, 1:43.98, 43 laps<BR><BR>Jurgen van der Goorbergh, NSR500, 1:46.68, 27 laps<BR><BR>Emilio Alzamora, NSR250, 1:46.00, 32 laps<BR><BR>Roberto Rolfo, NSR250, 1:46.00, 46 laps