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MotoGP Winter Test sets pulses racing this weekend

MotoGP Winter Test sets pulses racing this weekend

MotoGP Winter Test sets pulses racing this weekend

The mouth-watering MotoGP Winter Test at Catalunya circuit swings into action tomorrow morning in north-eastern Spain. The two-day session is the first opportunity for the media and fans alike to get a taste of what the 2003 MotoGP season holds in store, as all the riders in the elite class of motorcycle road-racing get on track together for the first time this year.

The MotoGP Winter Test will not however be like a normal test session, as during a live hour of television broadcast there will be an added incentive for the riders to be competitive. On Sunday afternoon in a timed period from 1400 to 1455 CET, the world-class riders will be fighting not only for the psychological edge in this intriguing prologue to the dawning 2003 season, but also a 3 series BMW, supplied by the German automobile manufacturer as an extra motivation.

World Champion Valentino Rossi will be present at the test on his 2003 spec Honda RC211V, although many eyes may for once be directed away from the illustrious Italian and towards the many changes that have occurred in what has been an intriguing winter interval. Alongside Rossi in the HRC garage this year will be young American Superbike champion Nicky Hayden, whilst Honda also welcomes the return of Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau. Making the switch away from Honda is Alex Barros, who joins Yamaha, like the 250cc World Champion Marco Melandri, who moves up a class to ride the M1 four-stroke.

The arrival of Ducati and their Desmosedici motorcycle into MotoGP means that Loris Capirossi will be out challenging for the title once again, and will be joined this year by a new recruit for the MotoGP class, former World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss. He may feel more at home in his first full season of Grand Prix racing as he is joined in the move across disciplines by reigning champion Colin Edwards and teammate Noriyuki Haga, who will both be making the Aprilia RS Cube ultra-competitive.

Suzuki welcome young American John Hopkins after an impressive rookie year, whilst his old WCM squad will be premiering their brand new Harris WCM machine with British rider Chris Burns on board. The latest addition to the list of Japanese manufacturers in MotoGP is Kawasaki, and their new pairing of Australians Garry McCoy and Andrew Pitt will undoubtedly be there to keep an eye out for. While all this goes on in Barcelona, elsewhere at a secret location in Spain, the birth of a new project will happen, as the KTM Red Bull squad test their new 125cc machine for the first time, as part of their decision to enter a full MotoGP squad in 2005. <

MotoGP, 2003

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