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Rossi steps up the pace on second day of Yamaha tests in Malaysia

Rossi steps up the pace on second day of Yamaha tests in Malaysia

Rossi steps up the pace on second day of Yamaha tests in Malaysia

With track temperatures matching the scorching 41 degrees of the Marlboro Malaysian Grand Prix back in October 2003 Valentino Rossi was able to cut his lap time by six tenths of a second on day two of his first test alongside his factory Yamaha colleagues at Sepang. The MotoGP World Champion completed 66 laps today, among them a brief ride on a Yamaha M1 with a different engine specification, and was again optimistic about the performance of his new bike.

"I'm very happy with today's work," said Rossi, who was again the fastest rider at the test. "I had a good rhythm with the bike today and all the changes we made helped us towards consistent lap times. The suspension settings with the 16.5-inch Michelin front tyre are quite good now and although we need to do more work with the engine, I'm happy with what we've achieved at this stage. The other engine was good, but it's very new and needs a few more development kilometres before we can really tell how good it is."

Rossi's Crew Chief Jerry Burgess was typically realistic about today's improvements but was quietly satisfied with the progress made. "We're going forwards," he said. "We've been playing around with the little things, now we're up and running fairly consistently and we made a minor mapping change to the engine which was slightly better".

The Italian's Spanish team-mate Carlos Checa put in 58 laps of front tyre work and believes he has an effective set-up for the a 16.5-inch variety. "We tried a lot of different front tyres today," said Checa. "The bike has been working well in some areas, but we didn't quite get the consistent results I wanted. I managed four laps in the 2m 3 second bracket but we have more work to do tomorrow, as well as tyre endurance tests."

Marco Melandri completed 36 laps and fell without injury at turn six in the morning session but recovered to make progress before the end of the session. "This afternoon was much better," he said. "Once I found a front tyre I liked things started to work for me. The crash was as strange as the one I had here at the Grand Prix last year. But my shoulder is getting better and today I could do five laps at a time. But each lap I got slightly weaker and it felt like someone was adding 10kg to the bike on each lap! It will be stronger tomorrow and we'll work on improving engine response."

Melandri's new team-mate Norick Abe, meanwhile, worked his way steadily through a total of 61 laps and dropped his lap time by a second from yesterday. "Things are getting better," he said. "We've got some work to do still on the front suspension, but to achieve this improvement on several sets of one type of tyre shows we are going in the right direction. We'll go step-by-step tomorrow and see what improvement we can make."

Unofficial lap times

Valentino Rossi – 2'03.17 (66 laps)
Carlos Checa – 2'03.57 (58 laps)
Norick Abe – 2'04.90 (61 laps)
Marco Melandri – 2'04.90 (36 laps)

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, Valentino Rossi

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