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Dec 6, 2001

More Honda RC211V Testing At Barcelona

From a press release:<BR><BR>Honda Racing News<BR><BR>HRC Test Session Barcelona. December 6, 2001.<BR>Weather; sunny but cold, track temperature 21 degrees C high - 11 degrees C low; track conditions, good.<BR><BR>Ukawa and Itoh Test RC211V at Barcelona<BR><BR>HRC continued their winter test programme at the 4.427km Montmelo circuit, close to Barcelona, Spain, today with team rider Tohru Ukawa and their most experienced test rider, former GP star Shinichi Itoh. World 500cc Champion Valentino Rossi did not test at Montmelo today.<BR><BR>The fast Montmelo circuit places different demands on a racing motorcycle than the tight 4.423km Jerez track, where the team tested the RCV last week. The contrast in speed and type of corners found at the two tracks will allow HRC engineers to assess the RCV's all-round performance in much broader terms.<BR><BR>Despite the low track surface temperatures the team accomplished much. Ukawa and Itoh were both running at close to 500cc lap record time of 1:46.619, established by Rossi at the grand prix in June of this year.<BR><BR>In fact they lapped the track under Rossi's lap record time but almost a second slower than the 2001 pole position time. Ukawa's was fastest with a best time of 1:46.37, with Itoh slightly slower at 1:46.60.<BR><BR>Tohru Ukawa: "I'm pleased with the performance of the RCV here. We have mainly worked on the suspension today, trying to get the machine set-up for this track. The work we did at Jerez last week has given us an idea of the direction we have to take and I'm pleased with the results of today's test."<BR><BR>Shinichi Itoh: "We did a lot of work on the bike today. It was good to test the RCV in such different conditions to those at Jerez. Not only the difference in track lay-out but the surface temperature, which was much lower than it was at Jerez, and there was not much grip."<BR><BR>The Honda Gresini team also attended the Barcelona test with reigning 250cc World Champion Daijiro Katoh testing the NSR500 he will race in 2002, and the team's new 250cc rider Roberto Rolfo who continued to acquaint himself with the individual characteristics of the Honda, and the workings of his new team.<BR><BR>Rolfo's 250cc teammate, Emilio Alzamora, completed very few laps before parking his NSR250. Alzamora badly bruised his knee in a Super Motard event at Madrid on Sunday. The knee was still painful and gave him no feeling from the track top while cornering, and making it difficult for him to move around on the bike. He wisely called it a day after a few laps.<BR><BR>Daijiro Katoh: "This track is much faster than Jerez and I feel more at home on the bike here. A much better feeling. We've been working to get the bike to handle on this track, mainly suspension, and I must say I'm happier with the results so far. We will see how things go tomorrow but I'm confident we will improve still more."<BR><BR>Roberto Rolfo: "Like the other riders at this test I'm going much better than at Jerez. Each time I ride the bike I learn something. I'm beginning to understand the bike better and I'm adjusting my style to suit the bike and the bike to suit my style. We were working on the suspension today and I'm getting to know how the set up works. Because of the cold temperatures there was not much grip today but I'm pleased with what we achieved."<BR><BR><BR>Times:<BR>Tohru Ukawa, RC211V, 1:46.37, 63 laps<BR><BR>Shinichi Itoh, RC211V, 1:46.60, 51 laps<BR><BR>Daijiro Katoh, NSR500, 1:46.4, 37 laps<BR><BR>Roberto Rolfo, NSR250, 1:50.3, 50 laps