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Dec 7, 2001

Marlboro Yamaha Tests At Sepang, Honda At Barcelona

From press releases:<BR><BR>MARLBORO YAMAHA TEAM TESTS<BR>Sepang, Malaysia<BR>Friday December 7 2001<BR><BR>CHECA & BIAGGI GO FASTER AT SEPANG Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi continued their impressive progress at Sepang today, day two of their final test session of 2001.<BR><BR>Overnight rain and intermittent morning showers prevented the pair from riding before lunchtime but both riders went on to clock rapid laps throughout the afternoon, proving that the YZR-M1 should be a force in next year's new-look MotoGP World Championship. Biaggi was a fraction off Checa's pace but still moving forward and satisfied with progress.<BR><BR>"Both riders set excellent lap times today," said YZR-M1 project leader Ichiro Yoda. "Carlos was very fast and happy with the third chassis he tested, after the two he used yesterday. He has one more chassis to try tomorrow and maybe he will be even faster with that. Max has less four-stroke experience than Carlos, so he's been working on his riding style. But he still has some problems with the four-stroke's engine braking and we'll be working on that before we go testing again in January."<BR><BR>Checa rode 58 laps of the sweeping Sepang track, cutting several tenths off his Thursday best. "We improved a lot today," he said. "I tried another chassis today and it was more stable than the others. We were also able to reduce the chatter I had yesterday which is probably the main reason I could improve my times today. Tomorrow I will try the fourth chassis and I'm really looking forward to seeing if that will be a further improvement. I will also be doing some race simulations to check tyre endurance. I tried a much better Michelin front today but so far we've been concentrating on feeling rather than endurance."<BR><BR>Biaggi completed 46 laps today, continuing his getting-to-know-you process with the four-stroke M1. "It's getting better and I feel more confident on the bike, but we still have a lot of work to do," said the Italian. "My main difficulties are going into the corners, with engine braking and turning. Tomorrow we will focus on getting the bike to turn the way I want it to turn, that means working on geometry and suspension, so I can hold my corner speed into the turns."<BR><BR>The Marlboro Yamaha Team completes this Sepang test tomorrow, before taking a few weeks break for Christmas and New Year. The squad commences its 2002 test programme at Valencia, Spain, in January and will conduct further tests at Jerez, Estoril, Catalunya and Suzuka before the season kicks off with the Japanese GP on April 7.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>HONDA RACING NEWS<BR><BR>HRC Test Session Barcelona. December 7, 2001.<BR>Weather, sunny but cold; track temperature, high 22 degress C - low 11 degrees C; track <BR>conditions, dry-good.<BR><BR>RC211V Faster on Second Day of HRC Barcelona Test<BR><BR>HRC completed their European winter test programme at Barcelona today and pronounced themselves more than pleased with the results of five days of testing in Spain, first at Jerez followed by two days at Barcelona.<BR><BR>On the final day of the test the engineers concentrated their efforts on testing new suspension parts, various ignition and fuel-injector settings.<BR><BR>The results showed in the times with GP rider Tohru Ukawa and HRC test rider Shinichi Itoh around half a second faster than yesterday, in almost identical conditions.<BR><BR>Tohru Ukawa: "The two days we spent here at Barcelona have been very good to understand the machine and its potential. The machine has more than enough power, now we have to concentrate on improving tyre performance. We go to Australia in two weeks to continue testing and we will run reliability tests, so I'm sure we will find a solution for the tyres. The most important thing about the tests in Spain was the fact that we did not have a single technical problem throughout the five days of testing."<BR><BR>Shinichi Itoh: "I agree with Ukawa San, we have done everything we came here to do and the results have been very good. We will now await developments from these tests but I'm sure they will be positive again."<BR><BR>Daijiro Katoh tested the Honda Gresini NSR500 for a second day at Barcelona and like his four-stroke counterparts Katoh also improved his lap times today.<BR><BR>Daijiro Katoh: "I really enjoyed riding the bike today. I feel good on the bike, very comfortable now the team have found a good position and better chassis settings to suit my size and weight. The bike works particularly well here, Barcelona is a 500 track, and I like it. But there is one thing sure, I will need a lot of kilometres on the bike to be ready for the first race of next season."<BR><BR>Katoh's Honda Gresini team-mate, Italian Roberto Rolfo, took his NSR250 out and improved on yesterday's performance as he prepared for the coming season, his first on a factory Honda.<BR><BR>Roberto Rolfo: "Sure I was a little faster today but the important thing is I learned more about the bike testing it here at Barcelona. We tried many things here on settings, to engine and chassis, and I'm happy with what I learned. But I know I need much more experience on this bike before I can be really fast."<BR><BR><BR>Times:<BR>Tohru Ukawa, RC211V, 1:45.72, 77 laps<BR><BR>Shinichi Itoh, RC211V, 1:45.81, 55 laps<BR><BR>Daijiro Katoh, NSR500, 1:45.61, 54 laps<BR><BR>Roberto Rolfo, NSR250, 1:49.9, 50 laps<BR>