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Ukawa cuts through wind to record quickest lap on second day of Valencia IRTA test

Ukawa cuts through wind to record quickest lap on second day of Valencia IRTA test

Repsol Honda finally made their mark on the 2001 pre-season as Tohru Ukawa beat poor weather conditions to set the fastest lap at the second and final day of IRTA tests at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia today. The 250 and 500 riders present at the Spanish circuit had to battle against the wind for much of the day, and with a cold track adding to their problems only a couple were able to better their times from yesterday. Indeed, Ukawa´s time wasn´t quick enough to improve on yesterday´s fastest lap overall which was set by fellow Japanese 500cc rookie Noriyuki Haga (Red Bull Yamaha).

Ukawa was delighted to set the best lap. ´I´m getting more and more comfortable with the 500 every time I get on it,´ he smiled. ´I think today shows that the team is making progress and, with further tests this weekend in Barcelona, I believe we will be ready for the first race at Suzuka.´ Ukawa will be joined in Barcelona by his team-mate Alex Criville. The former World Champion was able to put in several kilometres today, and suffered no adverse reaction from the hand injury he sustained in the first IRTA tests in Jerez.

Rain in the afternoon meant the test was effectively stopped for an hour, and Nastro Azzuro Honda rider Valentino Rossi, who leaves Valencia as the third fastest rider, didn´t test at all in the afternoon. ´I´m happy about the overall results from the three IRTA tests, especially here and Jerez,´ he explained. ´One of the most important things I have got from the tests is a great feeling with the team, we know each other very well and we´ll start the season fighting for the championship.´

Telefónica Movistar Honda rider Daijiro Katoh´s dominance of the 250 class came to a brief end today, with the Japanese youngster only completing three laps. Naoki Matsudo (TVK Motorsports Yamaha) set the best lap with 1´37.643, but wasn´t able to improve on Katoh´s 1´37.273 from the first day.

125cc, 2001

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