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Yamaha looking forward to a new era with Rossi

Yamaha looking forward to a new era with Rossi

Yamaha looking forward to a new era with Rossi

The 2004 MotoGP World Championship heralds a promising new era for the Yamaha factory, who head for the first round of the season in South Africa this weekend in unfamiliarly optimistic mood after gaining the psychological advantage over their rivals from an intense winter testing period which concluded at Jerez two weeks ago.

New signing Valentino Rossi, preparing for his first season with the factory after switching from Honda, has been in dominant mood, topping the time sheets at Jerez and, previously, at Catalunya and the YZR-M1 is finally fulfilling its potential under the guidance of Technical Director Masao Furusawa and Rossi's Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess.

The newly-named Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha Team was officially unveiled to the world in an extravagant flurry of publicity under the shadow of Montjuic Castle in Barcelona, and now Team Director Davide Brivio says they are ready to make a similar impact on the racetrack.

"I'm happy to start racing finally!" said Brivio, one of the key men in persuading Rossi to sign for Yamaha. "We're all very curious to see how competitive we are going to be. It's seemed like a longer winter than ever with all the testing and it will be great to go racing.

"It feels like an extra special moment because we are involved in this new challenge that Valentino chose to take on board with Yamaha. We are fully committed to giving him the necessary support, and to succeed with him in the challenge. It's just the beginning of a two-year plan so we still have a lot of time to develop our bike and grow up further."

Brivio is confident that Rossi and his team-mate Carlos Checa will be well able to handle the challenge of the first event of the year, but stops short of making predictions. "At the last two tests in Spain we had very strange and difficult weather conditions but even then our bike showed good potential, both with Valentino and Carlos, and with the other Yamaha riders. We aim of course to do our best, and I don't want to make any specific results predictions now!" he smiled.

"All I can say is that Yamaha has been very busy for many months redesigning many chassis parts and reviewing the engine. Valentino seems quite satisfied with the bike and that makes me relaxed, as it's a good sign that our engineers have done a good job so far. We need to see how the bike copes at the last part of the race under race conditions."

Brivio also explained the team's technical approach to Welkom. "Valentino has tested four different chassis and four different engine specs during the winter. He has selected a final race package that was also given to Carlos at the recent test in Barcelona and that combination seems to be the right one to use for Welkom.

"Carlos also had an important part to play in the bike's winter development as he has worked a lot on the chassis. At the IRTA tests we saw that he can be up there in the top positions. We hope to see both him and Valentino in the top group from Welkom onwards. We are motivated, excited, and ready to race!"

MotoGP, 2004, Valentino Rossi

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