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Cold shower for MotoGP riders as the heat rises on day one

Cold shower for MotoGP riders as the heat rises on day one

Cold shower for MotoGP riders as the heat rises on day one

What promised to be a highly competitive and entertaining first day at the MotoGP Official Test turned into a washout on Friday when heavy grey clouds creeping towards the Circuit de Catalunya finally gave way with two and a half hours of the session remaining. Previously, cold track temperatures had been warmed up by Loris Capirossi, who had broken the top speed record for a MotoGP motorcycle with a stunning registry of 338.1km/h on the Ducati D16 GP4, and Alex Barros, who dipped under lap record pace after just seventeen laps on the Honda RC211V.

The Brazilian was left with the quickest time of the day, having stopped the clock at 1'45.464, as the rain continued for the rest of the afternoon. Only Bridgestone tyre tester Shinichi Itoh returned to the wet track, with the rest of the teams and riders analysing the data gathered this morning and hoping for better conditions on the two remaining days of the test.

"There is no need to risk anything at this stage of the season, and we have plenty of time to complete our work," commented Barros. "I'm happy with the lap time we've done today but more importantly for me I felt comfortable with the bike and with my injured shoulder so that is positive. From a technical point of view we haven't really been able to test anything today because of the cold conditions, so hopefully it will improve tomorrow."

On his top speed, which is 10km/h faster than his own previous record at this circuit and almost 6km/h faster than the overall MotoGP record which he set in the race at Mugello last season, Capirossi commented: "For sure, it is really fast – it is quite a strange sensation to go at that speed. The 2004 bike is definitely faster than the 2003 bike but we still need to work on it to make the whole package better. For now it has some strong points but also some not so strong points which we need to work on."

The former 250cc World Champion also admitted that he was looking forward to Sunday's ‘Official Practice', with a BMW Z4 on offer for the fastest rider in a 45 minute timed session which also forms the first round of the BMW Award - MotoGP Best Qualifier 2004. "Of course it would be in a nice position to challenge for the car because that would mean we have done a good job this weekend," said Capirossi, who won the same competition last year and drove away in a BMW Cd 330. "It will be tougher than last year because we started testing later but, if I have the chance, I will go for it."

MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi completed his first official laps aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 today, lapping second fastest and finishing just 0.078 behind Barros. With Barros' Honda colleague Sete Gibernau clocking the third fastest time, former World Champion Kenny Roberts made it three different manufacturers in the top four positions riding the Suzuki. Roberts' team-mate John Hopkins also enjoyed a positive first day, setting the tenth fastest time in his first test since breaking both ankles in a supercross crash in January.

Meanwhile, the WCM team completed their first test of the preseason with European Superstock Champion Michele Fabrizio on board.

MotoGP, 2004

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