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Jun 17, 2002

Marlboro Yamaha Tests At Catalunya

From a press release:<BR><BR>MARLBORO YAMAHA TEAM TESTS<BR>Catalunya, Spain<BR>Monday, June 17 2002<BR><BR>MARLBORO YAMAHA TEST TYRES AT RED-HOT CATALUNYA<BR><BR>Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa stayed on at Catalunya today for Michelin tyre tests, completing four gruelling days of riding at the Spanish circuit. Both men each completed 65 laps in stifling 40-degree heat, evaluating front and rear development slicks on their YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes.<BR><BR>"I'm glad we stayed on, it was definitely worth it," said Biaggi. "Michelin have done a great job with their four-stroke tyres and today we tested a new type of front tyre that definitely had some good points, including improved feeling. But these are development tyres that we won't be racing just yet."<BR><BR>Biaggi, who scored the M1's first pole position on Saturday, was unlucky on race day. The Italian had to race his second bike after his number-one machine struck problems in morning warm-up. Nevertheless, he rode a determined race to fourth to lift himself to fourth in the World Championship points standings.<BR><BR>Team-mate Checa, who finished third in Sunday's Marlboro Catalan GP after leading half the race, was also impressed by Michelin's latest batch of front and rear slicks. "This was a useful test for us, the new tyres definitely have potential," said the Spaniard. "The main thing for us was to give the best-possible feedback to Michelin, so they can keep developing their tyres and keep making steps forward."<BR><BR>Biaggi and Checa were testing alongside rival Michelin-equipped teams. Michelin are dominating the new era of four-stroke MotoGP racing, just as they had dominated 500 GP racing for many years, but the French company never stops working to improve its range of tyres.<BR><BR>"The whole team is pretty exhausted after this very long weekend, but it's always good to see what new tyres Michelin come up with," explained Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust. "For us, testing front tyres was the main objective of this test and both Max and Carlos liked what they tried. We tested the fronts first and then a few rears, and the information we gave Michelin will help them to make the next step. Now we're all going to get a few days of well-deserved rest. We've been flat out for six weeks or more, and after next week's Dutch GP we've got back-to-back races in Britain and Germany, so everyone needs a few days off."<BR><BR>Practice and qualifying for the Dutch GP at Assen commence on Thursday June 27. Race day is Saturday June 29.<BR><BR>Lap times<BR>Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 1m 45.0s<BR>Carlos Checa (Marlboro Yamaha Team) 1m 45.6s