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Crowds flock to see a dominant Rossi repeat form of yesterday
An unprecedented number of spectators descended on the Circuit de Catalunya for the third IRTA test session which took place today and yesterday. The draw was the opportunity to see the new crop of MotoGP machines all lapping together at the Spanish circuit, and to catch an early glimpse of what the 2002 MotoGP season holds in store. Rain in nearby Barcelona in the morning did not put off 15,000 spectators, who were treated to another great day\\\\\\\'s action which all took place under gloriously blue skies.
Valentino Rossi improved on yesterday\\\\\\\'s time, and ended up quickest with a best of 1\\\\\\\'44.280, over 2.3 seconds inside the race lap record he set himself last year. He wasn\\\\\\\'t without stiffer competition than he enjoyed yesterday though, as Honda colleagues Tohru Ukawa and Loris Capirossi followed each other in enjoying brief stints at the top of the timesheets. No sooner had the two bettered Rossi\\\\\\\'s Saturday time though, than Rossi stamped his authority again by going even faster.
After having been fastest over the two days, the Italian was clearly satisfied with his efforts, and commented, \\\\\\\'All in all these tests have been quite good for us, while we still have some little problems to fix. We have a month left though, so I hope to arrive at the first race with the bike a little bit better than now.\\\\\\\'
To complete Honda\\\\\\\'s satisfaction even further, five of the six fastest riders came from the reigning constructors\\\\\\\' champions, with Loris Capirossi ending the day second, 0.203 behind his compatriot. With Ukawa ending up third, Carlos Checa was relegated to fourth despite having improved on his time from yesterday. Nevertheless Checa continues to look much happier on board Yamaha\\\\\\\'s new M1 machine. On the other hand his teammate Max Biaggi had to settle for seventh behind Alex Barros and a much-improved Daijiro Katoh, after the Italian was unable to beat his time from the first day.
The Yamaha pairing of Shinya Nakano and Norick Abe finished eighth and ninth respectively, whilst Suzuki\\\\\\\'s test-rider, Akiro Ryo, made an impressive reduction of 1.258 seconds to complete the top ten. All eyes now turn to Suzuka for the final IRTA test at the end of this month, when teams get the last opportunity to test their MotoGP machines before the first race at the same circuit on April 7.