Capirossi heads unofficial time sheets in large Brno group test
The forecast predicted a day of rain for the Monday after the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic. The water didn't arrive and instead hot and humid conditions blessed the latest group MotoGP testing session, allowing all of the participants to ride in relative comfort. Most of the main teams stayed on an extra day to take advantage of the trials set-up by Michelin and in the morning riders could be seen lapping from the Honda squads, Ducati, Yamaha, Suzuki, Aprilia, Proton, Kawasaki and WCM, who were finally able to debut there four-stroke prototype in the hands of David De Gea.
"David made 70 laps today without any problems worth mentioning," remarked team manager Peter Clifford. "It's true that the times are quite high, but we should not look too deeply into this just yet. The engine was fine, there were no failures and this was a success. I am hopeful that by Estoril both riders will be using the four-strokes."
Most of the attention was focused on race winner Valentino Rossi who was virtually cajoled into working by technical chief Jeremy Burgess and hit the track only just before lunchtime. His Honda carried a black carbon fairing and was visibly different. The seat unit was altered slightly to cope with an enlarged exhaust; additions that have not been seen in the last few races. Gibernau has yet to try this material.
"After an emotional Grand Prix I did find it difficult to work," Rossi admitted, "Also because Michelin did not give us the tyres that we needed for more traction and we really had to work to find the right set-up."
Sete Gibernau worked on testing some new wheels and front tyres. Upon conclusion, he left for Italy and one week of a working holiday invited by team manager Fausto Gresini. The Spaniard, who is now the only serious threat to Rossi for the world title, will ride and train with Supermoto bikes at Misano.
His team-mate, Kiyonari, completed a day of education yesterday, by going with his boss around the long track and watching and learning from his MotoGP compatriots.
After successfully finding out that the latest fairing and chassis set-up was effective thanks to ‘tests' during the races, the riders from the Ducati team concentrated on a new Ohlins suspension unit, with a wider diameter and a series of nine new Michelin front tyres. "The forks definitely work well," declared Loris Capirossi, "the bike is now more stable under braking and combined with the chassis and new front tyres, Michelin have given us a good advantage for the next few races."
Unfortunately Capirossi's team-mate, Troy Bayliss, wasn't able to give a great depth of feedback after calling a halt to his participation due to a crash, without any serious repercussions.
"The bike is perfect now," said Bayliss afterwards. "I pushed hard and tried out many things. I tested the forks when possible, but at the moment I am very satisfied. Overall I'd say that the balance of work we have achieved in the Czech Republic is very positive."
Max Biaggi was one of the first riders out on the track and was the last to switch off his Honda engine after a long day's work at the Brno circuit.
"The only way to get over disappointment is to work hard," he commented after also testing one of the engines with the open exhaust settings. "The bike is a little bit better. I am not totally satisfied but we have been working hard."
Loris Capirossi 1'59.0
Tohru Ukawa 1'59.0
Troy Bayliss 1'59.4
Carlos Checa 1'59.6
Sete Gibernau 1'59.7
Valentino Rossi 1'59.7
Olivier Jacque 1'59.8
Marco Melandri 2'00. 65
Nicky Hayden 2'00.0
Max Biaggi 2'00.1
Colin Edwards 2'00.5
Makoto Tamada 2'00.5
Alex Barros 2'01.1
David De Gea 2'08.0.