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Rossi and Checa return to Europe in optimistic mood

Rossi and Checa return to Europe in optimistic mood

Rossi and Checa return to Europe in optimistic mood

Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha team-mates Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa were on their way back to Europe this week as they prepare for the team's official presentation in Barcelona on 25th March, the eve of the first MotoGP Official Test of the preseason. The Italian and the Spaniard will be joined on track by all of their MotoGP rivals in a three day session which begins on 26th March at the Circuit de Catalunya, before heading to the final preseason showdown at Jerez just a couple of days later.

"For sure now we are near, we are close to the start," smiled Rossi at the end of the team's most recent test which ended at Phillip Island in Australia last Thursday. "Every year around this time we are all quite excited. Now we have two important tests, close together, at two difficult tracks and I think we will discover all our problems. We improved the bike here but both Barcelona and Jerez have very hard braking, where we need to improve, and hard bumps which we also need to improve from this point of view. So they will be two important tests, for sure, because they are two difficult tracks – very technical. After, we start and we'll see!"

Checa is particularly looking forward to the test as he will be using the latest YZR-M1 engine which Rossi tested at Phillip Island. We improved quite a lot considering we've been working basically on the set-up. I'm quite satisfied with the evolution and the feeling I am getting - I cannot say I am 100% on the limit with the bike, there are still some areas where we need to improve and that is why I'm waiting for the engine -it looks like it has some advantages. We have to work with that engine to see what is the setting and the bike reaction and adjust everything together. I hope and I believe we will get a strong combination.

The Spaniard also commented on the progress he felt he had made at Phillip Island and discussed the benefits of preparing for the new season alongside the reigning World Champion. To the interview in full, as well as Rossi's reflections on the Australian sessions, click on the video links on this page or enter the multimedia section of the website now.

MotoGP, 2004, Carlos Checa, Valentino Rossi

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