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Fans turn out in their thousands to welcome Yamaha to Barcelona

Fans turn out in their thousands to welcome Yamaha to Barcelona

Fans turn out in their thousands to welcome Yamaha to Barcelona

Thousands of motorcycling fans young and old filled the streets of one of Europe's most spectacular cities today as Barcelona began the countdown to one of the most eagerly anticipated seasons in the history of the sport on the eve of the MotoGP Official Test. Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi and local favourite Carlos Checa entertained the crowds assembled for Yamaha's factory team presentation in the heart of the city today, completing several laps of a miniature circuit assembled beneath shadow of the ancient Montjuic mountain, home to the city's Olympic Stadium. Rossi and Checa were joined by their factory colleagues Marco Melandri and Norick Abe in what became an impromptu freestyle display on board their 990cc YZR-M1 machines, complete with spectacular wheelies and burnouts.

"It is fantastic to see the interest of the fans here and it goes to prove how important the MotoGP Official Test is to everybody, not just the riders," commented Rossi. "It is more than a test – it is like the first Grand Prix of the season – and we know that if we are not competitive here then we don't have much time to improve before the start of the season. I am looking forward to seeing the level of my rivals tomorrow, it should be a very funny few days".

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004

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