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Reaction from the Honda and Yamaha camps after the final day in Sepang

Reaction from the Honda and Yamaha camps after the final day in Sepang

Reaction from the Honda and Yamaha camps after the final day in Sepang

Max Biaggi (Honda): "Another good day for me at this track, I showed I can go fast in these difficult conditions, and consistently too, so that is a good thing. The 16.5-inch front tyre from Michelin gives me a lot of confidence on the front end of the bike, which is so important from the rider's point of view. I like it a lot! Now the important thing is to repeat this at Phillip Island, it will be good to change the scenery a little bit, and I look forward to testing down there."

Sete Gibernau (Honda): "Every day we've been able to do exactly what we want, and also today I'm more than pleased with how things have gone. We wanted to go race distance, or as close as possible, and we actually did the 21 laps easily, and we were quite a bit quicker than in the race here. That's alone, without the stress and pressure of a race too. That makes me happy, that's what we wanted. We were putting 2'02s together, and that's why I'm happy, we want to be there at the first race. I'm still deciding between two sizes of 16.5-inch front tyre, but I did that race simulation with my least favourite so, that's good."

Colin Edwards (Honda): "When you get with a new bike you start from scratch, and the key is to gather as much information as possible, so that when you get to the first race you know what to do, what to change, what setting you're looking for. At the moment, I'm just getting that information together, the bank is not full, but it's getting there. Fabrizio (Cecchini - Chief mechanic) listens to my comments and advises on where to go and it usually improves it so that's a good thing we've got going there. We're building up the database and we're getting there."

Makoto Tamada (Honda): "It was a very difficult day today, because I arrived here from Japan with the flu, and today I think was the worst day of the three. I had a little fever, and riding there's no problem because you are concentrating, but then when you're sitting around waiting for the bike to be fixed or whatever, it is tiring, and it starts to take its toll. In any case, from the bike's point of view it's been a good three days, we've worked a lot on the set-up of the 2004 bike, and have learned a lot about it. We can appreciate the different possibilities now, and seen the improvement you can get out of it. I would like to have gone faster if the conditions had suited it, but it wasn't possible, we'll see now in Australia."

Alex Barros (Honda): "For me that was a hard few days; great to be back on a bike after so long away. I'm now sore and tired. We use ice on my shoulder and it helps. My confidence is coming back again and it's good to be back on the Honda again. Although I have to learn all the reference points again it is a relaxed bike to ride. I have much feeling on the Honda -the tyres, the suspension. I've only used the 16.5-inch front a little. Too early to say yet. The set-up is not right but I feel I'm improving with every day. My lap times are constant and they will improve with my fitness. Tendons have to heal naturally so it will take a time to regain 100% fitness and this is the goal for the start of the season."

Nicky Hayden (Honda): "I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel good but I gotta' remember this is still only practice! It really helps to be comfortable with the team and I think it shows. We've done a good job over the last few days and I'm happy. We've had a few problems but we are more experienced about fixing them now. I've never been that good in testing - I'm usually best on Sunday so we're feeling positive. The bike feels good - Honda has made a great bike even better over the winter. The 16.5-inch front feels real good - just like I'm used to with a Superbike. I just feel I can be more focussed on riding the bike this year than last. Last year I guess I had some excuses - I was learning. This year I want to win races. I'm looking forward to getting down to Phillip Island - a track I really like - and getting the bike to go fast there. Then back to Europe for more tests, then racing. Can't wait!"

Trevor Morris (Nicky Hayden's Crew Chief): "Put simply, we achieved everything we set out to over the three days . . . and more. Day one was hard - getting back into it and getting used to a slightly different feel to the bike. Yesterday we found a really good base setting and managed to put in some fast laps. Today Nicky went straight out and rode fast and consistently. We now go down to Phillip Island and look to get a good base setting and go fast again - at a track Nicky likes. We'll then come back to Europe and try to do the same again. We packed up early today because we had done our work early - and fast."

Ramon Forcada (Alex Barros' Crew Chief): "I am satisfied with the way the new team is working over the past few days. Alex is doing everything we want. Step at a time. The start of the season is still a way off and every day his condition improves. He hasn't ridden for a long time and it takes time top adjust to a new bike anyway but it has been a useful three days. We move to Phillip Island with a good base foundation and something to build on."

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha): "At this test the new engine spec has given us a great improvement because I can accelerate more easily and it gives me more torque from the bottom. This is only the first prototype so for sure there is much more work to do and there is not enough horsepower right now. I think if I had not had to finish a bit early then I could probably have gone faster. Phillip Island will be a very important test because we need to understand how much time the bike takes to set up at a new track; the Yamaha has a reputation for needing a lot of changes each time it moves to a new circuit. But then of course it's one story when you have three days at a test to work on set-up, and quite another when you have about three hours in a race weekend. For now we will go to Phillip Island with our current settings and see how we get on."

Jeremy Burgess (Valentino Rossi's Crew Chief): "We had to stop earlier than we'd planned due to some gripes with the new engine spec. We had been running close to the limit with some of our parts, but we fully expected this. The biggest step of these three days has been the introduction of the new engine spec and we are very pleased with our progress, however I'm sure the opposition are pleased with their progress too! We're in front of where the opposition were at the last race here; I know what we've got and where we're going. We've made some good laps over the last three days and we have the ability to go further. At this stage it's no surprise to be taking some steps forward and some steps back but now we're ready for Phillip Island next week. I already know what we need to alter and so we'll look forward to trying the bike at a new track."

Carlos Checa (Yamaha): "I had high expectations for today and unfortunately didn't achieve what I was hoping for - to get consistently fast laps. I have improved my time since yesterday and it's not a bad time but it's not what we were expecting. We've mostly worked on a variety of Michelin tyres today and haven't made many other changes to the bike. I am looking forward to moving on to Phillip Island because it's a great track. We've been totally focused here and have worked really hard, and will do the same there."

Davide Brivio (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team Director): "This has been a good test for Valentino. In three days he's made more minor chassis adjustments and we have compared the two new engine specs. It is very interesting for him to understand the how the bike reacts to the changes. Both riders have tested new Michelin tyre combinations during the test and we wanted to reconfirm Valentino's request for future engine development. Carlos improved his lap times, but he was not going out for a hot lap. His times are better than at the race last year, and they were quite good then! Now we will go to Phillip Island and see how the new engine reacts there."

Marco Melandri (Yamaha): "On the second to last lap I started to feel a bit better than I have felt all through this test. To be honest, I had some problems all day, and we have made many changes at this test and not all in the right direction! At about 3pm we found a better way, but we have had six days here now and we are still a long way from where we wanted to be. I was faster at the end and I think that with this setting it will be better next time we come to Sepang. I am glad I didn't fall off here, I am glad we are going to Phillip Island now and I hope we'll be better there!"

Norick Abe (Yamaha): "I have had quite a rough time here and am not so happy. I used a new front tyre at the start of the day and it began well but by midday I started to lose front feeling. Right at the end we used the same tyre again and made some consistently good laps and I had a much better front feeling. So overall I'm leaving with a better impression than I started with. I have never raced the M1 at Phillip Island as unfortunately I fell off in practice last time I was there, so I am looking forward to riding there next week."

Herve Poncharal (Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 Team Manager): "Unfortunately this test has not been as good as we had hoped. We expected that it would be an improvement but we could not achieve consistently good lap times. Marco had a good race at Phillip Island last year - maybe the best of his MotoGP career - until he fell, so we are excited about his performance there next week. Anyway both riders did make some improvements towards the end of today's session, and we'll make sure they both feel positive next time we come back here!"

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003

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