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Loris Capirossi keeping tabs on the 4 strokes
The IRTA tests at the Circuito de Catalunya threw up few surprises this weekend, with the 4 stroke Honda machines setting the pace as they have done for much of the closed season testing sessions. However, whilst Valentino Rossi was virtually untouchable aboard the RCV211, compatriot Loris Capirossi was doing his level best to keep his NSR500 in touch with the 500cc World Champion and finished the test with the second fastest time.
Capirossi, who finished third in the 2001 World Championship, clocked a best time of 1´44.483, just 0.203 seconds slower than Rossi and over a second inside the pole record lap at the Barcelona circuit. ´I was very, very happy with my performance at Catalunya and I am feeling confident about the World Championship this season,´ said the gritty Italian. ´I think the two top Honda 4 strokes are already a class apart but my NSR is pretty much level with the other 4 strokes at this point in time and the feeling is very good. On Sunday I killed the rest of the 2 strokes so there is no reason why I can´t beat them all on a regular basis´.
Despite having three World Championship titles to his name, Capirossi has yet to fulfil his undoubted potential in the top class but remains optimistic that he will succeed in the future, if not this year. ´For sure Valentino will be very hard to beat this season because the RCV211 is an extremely good bike with lots of power´, he admitted. ´My objective is still to fight as hard as possible for the title, but for sure we will all be on a more level playing field when everybody is racing on 4 stroke machinery.´