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Gauloises Yamaha Tech3 make first positive reflections of the season

Gauloises Yamaha Tech3 make first positive reflections of the season

Gauloises Yamaha Tech3 make first positive reflections of the season

After a season of frustration and disappointment, Gauloises Yamaha Tech3 pair Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano have been revitalised over the past two races after taking delivery of their new four-stroke M1 machines. Sepang and Phillip Island provided an opportunity to adapt to the new machinery and both riders have responded, Nakano taking sixth spot in Malaysia and Jacque seventh in Australia. Team Manager Hervé Poncharal had hoped for better, but revealed that he was still satisfied with his team´s approach to their new challenge.

`Our first reflection is positive, but not as much as we had expected,´ explained the Frenchman. `With the precedent set by Barros and Kato, who were competitive right from their first ride on the four-stroke, there was a certain level of expectation. The fact that we received the bikes between GPs and with only Nakano having previously ridden the machine before, things were not really in our favour. The last three races were an opportunity for us to prepare for next season, both for the riders and the team.´

The switch from two-stroke to four-stroke was a huge step for the riders, as it was for the whole team says Poncharal. `The bike is very different – particularly because of the engine braking, which is a fundamental part of it. It is less agile than the 500 but it makes up for this with phenomenal power. The riders must adapt to the bike and not the other way around. That was the first mistake we made - Olivier and Shinya tried to make it respond like a two-stroke but that didn´t work. There is a lot of work to do in the set-up of the engine because it plays a crucial role in the performance of the machine, so we need to find a whole new method of working´.

´In Malaysia Shinya got a good start and was consistent thoughout the race, improving on his practice times and eventually finishing ahead of Checa, which was unexpected when you consider he has been on the M1 for a whole year. I think Olivier could have made a similar race but he crashed after making a mistake changing gears. In Phillip Island we were unsure about the set-up. All the four-strokes had a hard time with the two-strokes on the first two days but in the race Olivier could have finished right behind Biaggi, if not in front, if it weren´t for a problem with his fairing´.

´Overall, I think we are going well. The potential is there but we have to learn how to exploit it. Valencia will provide us with nother close battle because the nature of the track should level things out between the two-strokes and the four-strokes. Now we will see if we can get everything out of the M1´.

MotoGP, 2002

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