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Suzuki and Aprilia prepare for IRTA test by beginning early in Barcelona
As preparations took place at the Circuit de Catalunya for this weekend's much anticipated MotoGP IRTA test session, several teams took to the track early to dedicate more time to the fine-tuning of their kit. Of those who will be riding at the weekend, the factory efforts from Suzuki and Aprilia were out on the Barcelona track today, the riders working until 4 o'clock, when they had to end their days work so the smaller 125cc bikes could use the circuit.Kenny Roberts, Sete Gibernau and Japanese test-rider Akira Ryo were out for the Telefonica Movistar Suzuki team. The squad returned from Australia over a week since, but will have wished they were back down under as they found that conditions in Catalunya were not ideal, with the sun hardly able to break through the threatening dark clouds. They did manage a full day's work however in the cool air and were satisfied with being able to get in some final hours development before the big challenge ahead. Also in the process of developing a bike which was new this winter is Regis Laconi and the Aprilia RS3. The Frenchman has put in a great number of miles since his debut on the bike back in January, and this weekend should prove whether the awesome sound of the three-cylinder can be matched by its performance. Both the Aprilia and Suzuki MotoGP teams will ride again tomorrow. Aside from MotoGP, the Fortuna Honda Gresini team had both of its 250cc riders testing today. Alzamora and Rolfo continued to work on the bike which was victorious last year with Katoh, while their main Aprilia rivals for the quarter-litre crown were also in evidence. Marco Melandri and Fonsi Nieto have made a sprightly start to the year, and continued to lap quickly today, while other riders in the class also prepared for the class' test on Monday. Elias, Porto, Yuzy, Haslam, Vincent, Philippe, Marchand, Debon, De Puniet, Aoki, Janssen and Bataille were the others to arrive at the Montmelo circuit ahead of schedule. In the 125cc class just a few of the challengers for the title were at the circuit for their four o'clock test session start. The Gilera and Derbi bikes will wait for tomorrow to work after the Spanish side of the team held their presentation today, but the Aprilias of Cecchinello, De Angelis, Rodriguez and Pablo Nieto, as well as the Fomma Hondas of Giansanti and Dovizioso, were out getting in some valuable track time.
16 years ago
16 years ago