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Gauloises Yamaha Tech3 finalising preparations for the 4 stroke challenge

Gauloises Yamaha Tech3 finalising preparations for the 4 stroke challenge

Gauloises Yamaha Tech3 finalising preparations for the 4 stroke challenge

With several of the official factory teams now finalising the set-up of their new, power laden 4 stroke motorcycles, several other MotoGP squads continue the battle to squeeze every last drop of potential out of their current 500cc machines. This is the case for Gauloises Yamaha Tech3, who will contest the 2002 season with a pair of YZR500 bikes piloted by Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano.

Last season the French outfit debuted in the 500cc World Championship having taking the honours in the 250cc class a year before with Jacque. An unfortunate run of injuries hindered the quarter-litre World Champion during the early stages of the season but his Japanese team-mate made outstanding progress, establishing himself as one of the top riders in the class by the end of the year. This season the competition promises to be even more challenging for the team, especially with the arrival of the 4 strokes.

Team Manager Hervé Poncharal took time out at the recent IRTA tests in Catalunya to explain the development work they have worked on over the winter period: ´Evidently we have a fundamentally different programme to the 4 stroke teams,´ he explained. ´They are working from scratch and have a huge amount of things to develop whilst we are working from an established base. Basically we have the same motorcycle as last season.´

Poncharal goes on to reveal that the central focus of a testing programme which began in January at Almería has been the tyres: ´All we can try and do for the moment is optimise the package we have, so the essential aspect so far has been the tyres. It´s tedious work but it´s also indispensable. We have no choice really as it is the area where we can gain most advantage.´

Despite fearing that the 4 strokes will be ahead this season the Tech3 squad are confident of holding their own and pouncing when the opportunity arrives. ´The arrival of the 4 strokes makes this a very difficult season for us but we will do the best we can,´ says Poncharal. ´It will be tough for all the 2 strokes but we know that certain race circumstances could work in our favour.´

Nakano and Jacque are now making their final personal preparations for the concluding test of the preseason. It takes place at the Suzuka Circuit just one week ahead of the first Grand Prix of the season at the same venue on April 7.

MotoGP, 2002

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