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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First day of two-day IRTA GP test Suzuka - Japan, 30.3.2002.

Weather, strong winds and overcast; temperature, 24; track conditions, poor
grip.

World Champion Rossi and RCV Set Suzuka Pace

World 500cc Champion Valentino Rossi set the pace on the opening day of the
two-day IRTA test at Suzuka today, the final pre-season test before the
Japanese GP next Sunday. Rossi, riding the 990cc five-cylinder V-5 Honda
four-stroke he will race in the 16 round MotoGP World Championship, headed
a Honda top three on the time sheet.

Reigning 250cc World Champion Daijiro Katoh, was second fastest man on the
day. Katoh had been fastest man at the HRC private test at Suzuka last week
aboard the Fortuna Honda Gresini NSR500 V-4 two-stroke but was 1 second
slower today than his best time of last week. Rossi's Repsol Honda
team-mate, Tohru Ukawa, was third quickest on his RCV.

In difficult conditions the three men did not get close to the times they
set at the private test session, the strong winds, and slick track surface,
working against them today.

Loris Capirossi, third in the 500cc class in 2001, set fifth fastest time
at 2m 07.017s, while his West Honda Pons team-mate, Alex Barros, was 13th
fastest at 2m 07.788s.

Team Kanemoto Honda rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh testing the team's
NSR500 at the recently altered 5.821km circuit. The Dutchman tested the
factory Honda at Suzuka first time, concentrated his time trying a
selection of Bridgestone tyres the team are developing for the new MotoGP
class.


Valentino Rossi 2m 05.086s. 46 laps.
"It was very windy today and the circuit was slippery. We worked well,
looking for the best possible set-up. The test was good and the times also
but the problem today was with traction, and a lack of grip because of the
rain yesterday. Tomorrow should be better."


Tohru Ukawa 2m 05.762s. 59 laps.
"Everything went fine today but it was windy around the circuit, and cold.
It was a big difference from the tests last week. I tested tyres today but
did not find the right one for me. But I understand which direction we have
to work in. Tomorrow we finish testing work and hope to have found a set-up
for the race."


Daijiro Katoh 2m 05.457s. 38 laps.
"Today it was very windy and hard o ride but we did a lot of work on the
suspension and the tyres, working to get a good set-up for the race. We are
still not 100% and hope tomorrow we will find the right settings."


Jurgen van den Goorbergh 2m 09.222s.
"The bike is fine and I feel fit. The engine is good and the chassis and
suspension. Each time we go out we make we keep making small steps forward.
With the tyres we are still in the development stage. Tomorrow we will run
with tyres developed from the Jerez test, we know they give less chatter."


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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Final day of two-day IRTA GP test Suzuka - Japan, 31.3.2002.

Weather, sunny, cloudy, rain late on; temperature, 22'; track conditions,
wet-dry.

HRC Trio Top IRTA Suzuka Test Times

Valentino Rossi set the bench mark for his rivals to aim at when the MotoGP
World Championship opens at Suzuka, Japan, next Sunday. On the final day,
of the two-day IRTA pre-season test at Suzuka Rossi, riding the 990cc V-5
Honda four-stroke, set a lap time of 2m 04.343s. The fastest lap yet
recorded by a motorcycle on the new 5.821km track layout.

World Champion Rossi, and his Repsol Honda team-mate, Tohru Ukawa, set the
final touches to the RCV Hondas they will race in the 16 round series. Both
men concentrated their attention on machine set-up, chasing the best
chassis and tyre combinations to use when official GP qualifying starts
next Friday.

Rossi and Ukawa will not spend their pre-race free time sightseeing. The
two men will be engaged in wind tunnel testing work on Tuesday, checking
the aerodynamics of their RC211V Hondas.

Fortuna Honda Gresini rider Daijiro Katoh, the reigning 250cc World
Champion, has now finished his preparations for his debut season aboard a
factory 500cc machine. Katoh and his team of technicians, worked on the
chassis and suspension settings of the 190 PS plus two-stroke Honda.
Despite the hard work Katoh did not equal the times he set at the private
HRC test of last week.

The West Honda Pons team of Loris Capirossi and Alex Barros, completed
their pre-season preparation work on the NSR500 two-strokes they will race
against the larger capacity four-strokes in the MotoGP series.

After a shake-down test on Saturday the two riders got down to fine tuning
machine settings today. Capirossi, who set pole position time for the 500cc
race at Suzuka last year, was the faster of the two men. He set fourth
fastest time of the day, behind the three HRC riders. Barros was a full
second down on his team-mate but was more concerned with finding a good
bike set-up than chasing fast lap times.

Jurgen van den Goorbergh continued his tyre testing programme with team
Kanemoto Honda. The Dutchman set faster lap times than he had on the
opening day but was hoping for more improvement.

Valentino Rossi - RC211V: 2m 04.343s.
"Today we set some good lap times and we tested many things to find good
set-up solutions for the race. We have worked very hard these last two days
and we are finally satisfied with the development of the bike. We have
three days rest now and we are anxious to see what is going to happen in
the race with the two-strokes and four-strokes together."

Tohru Ukawa - RC211V: 2m 04.943s.
We are happy with our two days of testing. We found the correct tyres for
the race, and we did some good lap times. We tested any solutions for
suspension and we know which direction to go in for the race. W are all
very curious to see this first race."

Daijiro Katoh - NSR500: 2m 5.540s.
"Today we tested new solutions for the suspension and frame, we are not
really satisfied yet but we know which direction to work in for the race.
The bike has good potential on how to set it up for the race. We worked
hard and we are happy enough with the outcome."

Loris Capirossi - NSR500: 2m 05.782s.
"On Saturday we did not take too many risks with the new bike. Today I felt
confident and lapped harder. The lap times came down, I improved and I am
now much closer to the leaders. Bad weather stopped us completing all the
work we had planned, particularly on tyres, and we must work harder right
from the beginning of next Friday's practice. I am looking forward to the
start of the World Championship as the races are much more fun than
testing."

Alex Barros - NSR500: 2m 06.858s.
"I am not to concerned about the times I have done as the main aim of this
practice has been to prepare the bike for the race. I have been
concentrating on many different aspects of the bike without pushing hard at
all as I have been gathering information. I wanted to try out a number of
tyre compounds but it was impossible. In spite of this I'm still optimistic
about the season which is about to get underway."

Jurgen van den Goorbergh - NSR500: Lap time unavailable.
"We're making small steps in progress but we are not where we want to be.
We are now using tyres we have tested before and they seem to be a bit
better. The progress we have made is not in place but the lap time is
better - we are pushing hard."


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