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Rossi and Ukawa supreme at Suzuka

Rossi and Ukawa supreme at Suzuka

Rossi and Ukawa supreme at Suzuka

The 2002 pre-season is now officially over, as the final IRTA test drew to close under moody skies in Suzuka and once again the Honda RC211V of Valentino Rossi emerged as the front runner. Having watched other riders begin to get close to his time from yesterday, Rossi came out late onto the track, but took no time whatsoever in imposing himself on the others once again. After bettering Loris Capirossi´s obsolete pole time from last year, he eventually improved to a final result of 2´04.343.

The only other rider able to get within a second of Rossi was team-mate Tohru Ukawa, who was quickest in the shortened afternoon session. The Chiba-born rider was happy with the two days´efforts though,´Things are looking good, Valentino made a good lap time and so did I; albeit a little bit slower, but I´m happy. Today we tested tyres and fuel injection settings, and I made consistent lap times, so I hope I can keep it like this because I want to win here at Suzuka next week´.

More Honda riders followed the two Repsol riders, with Daijiro Katoh proving he must not be discounted, as he finished third without improving his time from yesterday, just ahead of Loris Capirossi of the West Honda Pons team. The next bike to feature was that of Kenny Roberts´ Suzuki GSV-R four-stroke, which has made significant progress since it first got onto the track at the beginning of February. He was 1.464 behind Rossi, with Checa, Itoh and fellow Suzuki riders Ryo, Gibernau and Kagayama trailing in his wake.

MotoGP, 2002

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