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Checa fastest at first 500cc IRTA test in Jerez

Checa fastest at first 500cc IRTA test in Jerez

Marlboro Yamaha duo Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi were on top form today at the first day of 500cc IRTA tests in Jerez. Checa set the fastest lap of the day with a 1´43.207, whilst Biaggi was the third quickest 500 rider behind fellow Italian Valentino Rossi on the Nastro Azzuri Honda. It was a good day for Yamaha as Garry McCoy also turned in an impressive display and ended up fourth quickest on the Red Bull sponsored YZR 500, followed closely by Repsol Honda rider Tohru Ukawa.

World Champion Kenny Roberts had dominated the morning session on his Telefonica Movistar Suzuki, but was unable to improve his lap times during the afternoon and finished behind West Honda Pons pair Alex Barros and Loris Capirossi, who were sixth and seventh quickest respectively. Spaniards Alex Crivillé (Repsol Honda) and Sete Gibernau (Telefonica Movistar Suzuki) complete the list of top ten riders on the opening day of 500cc tests at the Spanish circuit.

Checa was extremely satisfied with his, and the bike´s, performance. ´We´ve started the IRTA tests with just our normal testing programme. We´ve spent most of the day evaluating set-up parts, although we dedicated quite a bit of time to tyres. We did have a few problems here and there but overall we´re pleased with the progress we´re making and to set the quickest time is a bonus.´

Newcomers to the 500cc series Noriyuki Haga, of Red Bull Yamaha, and Shinya Nakano, of Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3, made impressive debuts - although fellow rookies Chris Walker and Leon Haslam were unable to make much of an impression as they got to grips with the powerful Shell Advance Honda NSR 500.

The performance of the day meanwhile came from Telefonica Movistar Honda 250cc rider Daijiro Katoh. His best lap of 1´43.573 was easily enough to set him apart from the other 250 riders, whilst putting him up there ahead of Valentino Rossi as the second quickest rider of the session overall. MS Aprilia Racing youngster Marco Melandri was the second fastest 250 rider, as his team-mate Tetsuya Harada finished the day fourth behind Aprilia Grand Prix rider Marcelino Lucchi. Fifth quickest was MS Eros Ramazotti Racing rider and current 125cc World Champion Roberto Locatelli, also on an Aprilia.

500cc, 2001

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