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Feb 15, 2002

News From Yamaha Testing At Valencia

From a press release:<BR><BR>MARLBORO YAMAHA TEAM TESTS<BR>Valencia, Spain<BR>Friday, February 15, 2002<BR><BR>CHECA FAST AT VALENCIA, BIAGGI TUMBLES & WAITS<BR><BR>Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi commenced their first full European test session of 2002 at Valencia today, Checa lapping inside the track record, Biaggi enjoying less luck with a high-speed spill and a minor bike problem.<BR><BR>The pair are taking part in the first IRTA-organised test of the year, evaluating their YZR-M1 four-strokes for the first time alongside several rival teams, though the factory Honda and Suzuki squads are absent. Both men took their time to get up to speed, explaining that the track had been dirtied by Formula One car testing which ended yesterday.<BR><BR>"The track wasn't so bad at the end of the day but by then the temperature was a bit low and it was still quite windy," said Checa, whose 1:35.488 best is six tenths inside the Valencia 500 lap record. "Anyway, this is only the first day of the tests so I don't care about lap times, although I've already gone as fast as I ever went here on the 500. We tried a few engine parts and also worked on the chassis settings, trying to improve feel. I'm looking forward to the next couple of days; if it's warm enough we should get some good work done."<BR><BR>Biaggi completed less laps than his teammate after tumbling at turn one late in the morning. While his mechanics worked at repairing the damage the Italian continued with his other bike but an electrical glitch stopped that machine. This was the first M1 stoppage experienced by the Marlboro Yamaha Team.<BR><BR>"It's been a long day, with a lot of waiting," said Biaggi. "I slid off at turn one and then we had a problem with my other bike, so I've just been watching from the pits. When I finally got back out, the track temperature was already down so conditions weren't ideal but we've still got two days to go here. It's a shame that the teams which are likely to be our real rivals aren't here but we've got a fair idea of what we've got to do and we'll find out about the other four-strokes when we test with them at Barcelona next month. At the moment we're just looking at getting as much data as possible for the Japanese engineers to work with."<BR><BR>Yamaha YZR-M1 project leader Ichiro Yoda expects the team to achieve much more during the final two days of this test. "We have some new engine parts here, aimed at smoothing the torque for tight tracks like this," said Yoda.<BR><BR>"And we also have parts for the electronic control system for engine braking, but we didn't have time to try these today. It was a shame that Max lost so much time; we'll try and make up for that during Saturday and Sunday."<BR><BR>Yamaha test rider John Kocinski, who won the 1990 250 World Championship for Marlboro Yamaha Team Roberts, is also riding an M1 here, the American completing a full day of tests at a similar pace to Checa and Biaggi.<BR><BR>LAP TIMES<BR><BR>Carlos Checa (Marlboro Yamaha Team), 1:35.488<BR><BR>Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team), 1:35.910