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Haga puts his Yamaha on top in Valencia

Haga puts his Yamaha on top in Valencia

Japanese rider Noriyuki Haga put his Yamaha YZR500 on top of the time sheets during the first day of IRTA tests in Valencia. The Red Bull Yamaha rider set an impressive register of 99 completed laps, clocking a best time of 1.35.482.

´I know this track very well from last year, when I won a race here´, said Haga, who admitted his new bike is much better in certain parts of the track compared to the Superbike machine he rode last season. ´It´s good to know a track so from the beginning I could focus on testing parts for the bike, and I´m happy to be the fastest man today.´ Haga fought an intense duel against fellow countryman Tohru Ukawa, who finally left his Honda NSR500 only 0.001 seconds behind Haga. They were the only two riders to lap in the 1.35´s.

Honda rider Valentino Rossi was amongst the fastest men although he was affected by flu and lapped with a slight fever. The Tavullia-born rider wasn’t the only one sick at the Ricardo Tormo circuit as many mechanics, team-members and even journalists were today affected, some carrying their illness over from Estoril. ´I don´t feel well. I have had an awful night and I could barely sleep´, said Loris Capirossi sitting in his box while most of the riders lapped around the track. Capirossi completed just 13 laps before returning home to Monaco. ´I can´t test, I feel quite dizzy´, he added.

The weather didn’t help those who were sick and the test was held in really cold conditions - despite sunshine throughout the day. The track was also very cold and, combined with the afternoon wind, caused many crashes. Jürgen vd Goorbergh crashed spectacularly and his bike suffered damage. Valentino Rossi, who eventually set the third best lap, also crashed but emerged unhurt - as did Daijiro Katoh who came off his NSR250. Katoh was once more the fastest man in the 250 group.

The session had another important focus for many of those at the track as Alex Criville got back on his bike just over a week after the left hand operation he underwent after crashing during the Jerez IRTA test. The former 500 champion confirmed after the session that he wasn’t 100% fit, but that he felt much better than expected. Official lap times


Haga 1.35.582
Ukawa 1.35.583
Rossi 1.36.110
Cardoso 1.36.219
Barros 1.36.227
Nakano 1.36.395
Abe 1.36.502
Criville 1.36.686
Vd goor 1.36.734
Walker 1.37.295


Katoh 1.37.273
Debon 1.37.903
Matsudo 1.38.143
De Gea 1.38.537
Alzamora 1.38.654
Yuzy 1.38.922
Nieto 1.38.934
Hofmann 1.39.992
Battaini 1.39.034
Locatelli 1.39.048

500cc, 2001

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