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Jan 21, 2002

News From Honda's Rossi-less Test In Malaysia

From a press release:<BR><BR>Honda Racing News<BR><BR>HRC Winter Test<BR>Sepang, Malaysia<BR>January 21, 2002.<BR><BR>Rain Stops Play at Sepang<BR><BR>The first day of the HRC Sepang winter test session for the RC211V became a half-day test as rain fell at lunch time severely limiting the riders' time on track. HRC are testing new tyres from Michelin at Sepang, and several machine modifications made to the RCV following data gathering test sessions at the end of last year.<BR><BR>Despite the rain, and the time required to find a reasonable set-up for the RC211V, Tohru Ukawa set fastest time of the day on the 5-cylinder MotoGP machine at 2:06.60. His time, almost on the lap record for the 5.548km circuit, was 4/10ths of a second faster than his best-ever lap time at the circuit while riding the NSR500 V-4 two-stroke.<BR><BR>HRC test rider Shinichi Itoh, making his first ever visit to Sepang, also tested the RC211V. Itoh completed 36 laps, 29 in the dry, seven on a wet track, with a best time of 2:08.86.<BR><BR>Reigning 250cc World Champion Daijiro Katoh was at Sepang. The Honda Gresini rider testing the team's NSR500 at the circuit for the first time. Before the rain fell Katoh set a best time of 2:07.84.<BR><BR>Jurgen van den Goorbergh did not fare well on his Kanemoto NSR500. The Dutchman crashed the NSR, escaping without injury. However, the machine was extensively damaged and Van den Goorbergh sat out the rest of the day.<BR><BR>Team Honda Pons made their first appearance of the season with the 2002 NSR500s they will race in the Grands Prix this season. In their first shake down test on the West Honda's Loris Capirossi and Alex Barros completed 80 laps between them with Capirossi the faster of the two men.<BR><BR>Tohru Ukawa, RC211V, 50 laps, 2:06.60<BR><BR>Shinichi Itoh, RC211V, 36 laps, 2:08.36<BR><BR>Daijiro Katoh, NSR500, 44 laps, 2:07.84<BR><BR>Loris Capirossi, NSR500, 44 laps, 2:07.93<BR><BR>Alex Barros, NSR500, 36 laps, 2:08.86<BR><BR>Jurgen v. d. Goorbergh, NSR500, 23 laps, 2:10.80<BR><BR>Tohru Ukawa: We were looking for a good set up for the track. Once we were close we started testing some new tyres for Michelin. I'm satisfied with what we achieved before the rain came. I must be happy, I'm already faster on the RCV than I was at the GP with the NSR500.<BR><BR>Shinichi Itoh: I had to learn the circuit before I could test anything. The bike was fine, better than the last time I tested it, a month ago. Pity about the rain today. We have two more days here so I'm confident we will complete the work we have.<BR><BR>Daijiro Katoh: Sepang is a real 500 track and it's very demanding on the rider and the machine. This is my first time on a 500 round Sepang so I was not completely happy with the set up before the rain started but I'm satisfied with the performance today. I'm sure I can improve when the bike is set up for me.
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