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Team Gauloises Tech3 Manager Hervé Poncharal sums up the first test of the season

Team Gauloises Tech3 Manager Hervé Poncharal sums up the first test of the season

Team Gauloises Tech3 Manager Hervé Poncharal sums up the first test of the season

Hello to everybody,

I was very happy to see our riders out on the track once again. Since Tuesday we've been at the Almeria circuit in Spain and the last time we were all together at the track was back in November 2001, so we needed a day together first for everyone to become acquainted with it all again. As I announced on, our objective during this pre-season is to work most of all on tyres, with the aim of solving the traction problems that our riders complained about all last season.

The mechanical and chemical engineers from Michelin were therefore with us at the circuit for two days, and everybody worked really hard. There is no pressure on us, and everyone was gelling well together, with the Michelin technicians greatly appreciating the information Olivier was handing to them. It reminded me somewhat of our 2000 pre-season, if you see what I mean. Yesterday afternoon the two riders obviously had lost a bit on the right-hand, because Shinya set a best of 1'36.5, and Olivier did a 1'37.6. But anyway, that doesn't mean a great deal, the season is still a way off and we haven't come here to set lap times.

Our first test in 2002 was also the first chance to work with our test rider, Sylvain Guintoli, who had his first laps behind the bars of a 500. You could say that his first few miles were certainly very interesting; even if he lacks some of the speed, the style is certainly there. He has a good line, and carries good corner speed, and he is adapting well to the power of the 500, something which isn't always easy. Shinya even came up to me to say he had been impressed by Sylvain's debut and it's very rare to hear one rider complimenting another. Sylvain clearly is very mature and is not trying to go all out.

He is already forming a good team with his Project Manager, Gilles Bigot. After having helped Alex Criville to the World Championship, it is a new challenge for Gilles and an even better opportunity for Sylvain to work with someone who has a wealth of experience. At Grands Prix, Gilles won't be working in the pit garage with a rider, except if Sylvain has to come and ride for whatever reason. I am certain however, that Gilles' experience is going to be profitable for the whole team, and that his presence during race weekends can only make Yamaha Gauloises Tech3 stronger.

We will stay in Almeria just until this evening, but we will be back with Michelin on March 5th and 7th. Before that we will be out at the IRTA tests in Valencia and Estoril.

See you soon,


500cc, 2001

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