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Reaction from the Honda crew after the first days action in Valencia

Reaction from the Honda crew after the first days action in Valencia

Reaction from the Honda crew after the first days action in Valencia

Honda's top riders lapped a cold Valencia circuit yesterday for the final test of 2003. In a session that included Sete Gibernau, Maxi Biaggi, Colin Edwards and Makoto Tamada, the absence of World Champion and new Yamaha recruit Valentino Rossi was noticeable (Nicky Hayden is currently back in the US recovering from minor hand surgery) but work continued despite the manufacturer's current slightly depleted line-up.

Most of the action cranked into life after 2.00pm with warmer conditions. Gibernau notched 40 laps and the quickest time.

"It started not so good with the weather, but it turned out to be a positive day," he remarked. "More than anything, we needed to get used to the bike again after a month doing not so much. We are testing some new stuff trying to develop the direction of what we need for next year to try to challenge again for the championship. Today we wanted to make a reset of everything, myself, the team, the bike, and now we have a good basis for tomorrow to start to test. It's the balance that we're trying to get right. It's a little bit of everything. We have a meeting with Honda and Michelin to see what they need for me tomorrow and try to make a plan."

Colin Edwards drew a fair amount of attention in only his second outing as a Honda rider (he used the test at Catalunya after the final GP to configure basic settings on the bike) and as new team-mate to Gibernau. Back with the marque with which he won two World Superbike titles the Texan was rapidly on the pace.

"I was working on a lot of stuff," he said. "All of these bikes have limits; you just have to learn how to decipher the code. Right now I have somewhat of an idea, but not enough to go out there and try to bust a lap. We just went out and did fairly consistent high 34's and I was happy with that. I didn't feel I was anywhere near the limit. The track was pretty bad this morning. We had no idea if the tire was going to stick or if it wasn't going to stick. I'm trying to sweat a few beers out first before we get out there."

Max Biaggi, who goes into 2004 with Makoto Tamada as a new team-mate (despite the fact that the latter was testing Bridgestone tyres and not Michelins yesterday), spent time working on a new engine set-up:

"We got just a normal set-up for day one and tomorrow and Friday is going to be two more days, full days, hopefully, we can test in good weather. We have a new engine solution. That's what we're trying to see. I didn't make many laps so I just used two rear tyres. Right now we have to adjust to the new engine solution. It's something that we have to evolve with time. Tomorrow we start for sure in better conditions and then I can reveal more details. The track was so cold that it's very easy to make a mistake if you go too hard. I was trying to be conservative and at the same time trying to analyse and take data and speak with the mechanics."

MotoGP, 2003

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