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HRC complete first day at Phillip Island

HRC complete first day at Phillip Island

HRC complete first day at Phillip Island

The Repsol Honda and Pramac Honda teams continued their preparations for the 2003 MotoGP season with the first of a three-day test at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia today. Reigning MotoGP World Champion and teammate, American Superbike Champion Nicky Hayden, put in a good days work on the opening day, once the early morning mist had cleared, whilst test rider Shinichi Itoh again assisted Makoto Tamada, in evaluating the range of new Bridgestone tyres.

Rossi was in particularly good form on the spectacular seaside track, taking 0.7 seconds off his qualifying time from the 2002 Grand Prix. "It's one of my best circuits and it is always a great pleasure to ride here,´ commented the Italian. `Today we try different solutions to find the best settings for the tyres, suspension and the transmission. The team is working very well and they seem relaxed - Australia is home for many of them! I´m hoping over the next two days to find even better solutions to make the bike better for the championship. The weather here is great - it will be difficult to come back to the cold of Europe!´

$$$ For the Pramac team Itoh´s input was particularly useful as he raced at Phillip Island on Bridgestone tyres in the 2002 GP, racing a Kanemoto NSR500 two-stroke. `This is my first time at Phillip Island on the RCV four-stroke, I raced Erv's NSR500 here at the GP last October,´ said the Japanese rider, who lapped just 0.9 seconds slower than Rossi. `Of course the two bikes are completely different but I found it easy to ride the RCV fast round here. Today I worked on the front and rear suspension to find the best setting for the circuit, and the tyres. Even if it was not perfect at the end of the day I could run my time easily. I must say that considering they have not raced here with a four-stroke the performance of the Bridgestones has been very impressive.´

Unofficial lap times.

Valentino Rossi - 1:32.1 (92 laps)
Nicky Hayden - 1:34.5 (85 laps)
Shinichi Itoh - 1:33.0 (78 laps)
Makoto Tamada - 1:34.3 (88 laps)

MotoGP, 2003

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