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Ducati Marlboro and Pramac Honda join MotoGP rivals at Catalunya

Ducati Marlboro and Pramac Honda join MotoGP rivals at Catalunya

Ducati Marlboro and Pramac Honda join MotoGP rivals at Catalunya

Two days of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona ended today, with the Ducati Marlboro and Pramac Honda teams making a surprise appearance alongside the entire Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Proton and WCM squads. In fact, only Aprilia and the Michelin shod HRC teams were absent from the Spanish circuit, although their trucks have begun to arrive in preparation for the mouth-watering MotoGP Winter test which starts here on Saturday.

All teams lapped non-stop, with Yamaha riders Carlos Checa, Marco Melandri, Alex Barros, Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano in particular looking to make up for time lost at weather affected tests during the winter months. With a warm sun heating up the track surface, conditions were perfect all day and barely a single rider stopped for a break, even at lunchtime.

Whilst the Harris WCM team clocked up precious laps on their sole bike with Niall MacKenzie during the morning, allowing Chris Burns to take the reigns in the afternoon, Kawasaki had a fleet of green machines in their box as Akira Yanagawa and Alex Hoffman once again backed up regular riders Garry McCoy and Andrew Pitt on earlier prototype versions of the ZX-RR. Jeremy McWilliams and Nobuatsu Aoki experienced gearbox problems with the 2-stroke Proton but were able to get some useful laps in as they tested different tyre compounds.

It was also a useful day for Kenny Roberts and John Hopkins, as they collected new data for the latest version GSV-R. `We are probably a bit behind on development but we´re confident we can get up to speed,´ said Hopkins. `Our aim this year is to be at the top, that´s where we need to be and where we should be. I suppose there´s a bit more pressure on me this year because I´m in a factory team but it is a completely new bike, we´re starting from scratch and it´s normal we are a little behind the frontrunners at the moment. The Michelin tyres are fantastic; I am so impressed. Now we just have to get the rest of the bike working well with them!´

MotoGP, 2003, Ducati Marlboro Team

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