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Ducati, Kawasaki and Aprilia stay on for Rio test

Ducati, Kawasaki and Aprilia stay on for Rio test

Ducati, Kawasaki and Aprilia stay on for Rio test

As the majority of the MotoGP paddock packed up and returned to Europe on Sunday evening, the cargo crates of the Ducati, Kawasaki and Aprilia factory teams were notable by their absence as the three outfits stayed on in Rio for a day of tests on Monday.

The Nelson Piquet circuit is not known for its testing qualities due to the fact that it is so different to anything else on the calendar, but the teams were all keen to get as much track time as possible as they look to close the gap to Honda and Yamaha at the top of the championship.

Under partially cloudy skies but with warm temperatures of around 26ºC typical of the weekend, Ducati Marlboro Team riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi continued development of the new Twin Pulse machine, with Bayliss running back-to-back tests against the Four Pulse.

The Australian rider carried out a long-run with each engine, completing 45 laps with a best time of 1'50.2 and reporting that the Twin Pulse unit was easier to ride and allowed him to maintain a rapid pace with less physical effort.

Capirossi completed just nineteen laps, with a best time of 1'50.4, mainly concentrating on testing cycle parts and electronics. The Italian continued development work with the new irregular firing order Twin Pulse engine, with which he made an encouraging debut at Assen and with which he confirmed to be a further step forward with fourth place at Rio.

Meanwhile, Ducati's development team was down in Mugello with tester Vittoriano Guareschi, who was set to remain at the Tuscan circuit to test new electronic components on Tuesday.

Back at Rio, Aprilia riders Jeremy McWilliams and Shane ‘Shakey' Byrne continued to test the new revised firing order of the three-cylinder RS Cube and a new aerodynamic system introduced at Catalunya three weeks ago. The new engine is designed to deliver the power more smoothly and have less wear on the rear tyre.

Fuchs Kawasaki riders Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann were testing new engine and chassis components, as well as evaluating the latest tyres from Bridgestone.

For Hofmann, the main focus of the test was on evaluating revised fuel injection mapping, aimed at improving throttle control and power delivery out of the corners. The 24-year-old German also tried minor suspension and chassis changes during four hours and 48 laps of testing.

Faster on Monday than he was in Sunday's Cinzano Rio Grand Prix, Hofmann declared himself satisfied with the improvements made to his Ninja ZX-RR out of the turns, but the Fuchs Kawasaki rider remains convinced that more power needs to be found from the 990cc, inline four-cylinder ZX-RR motor for the straights.

Shinya Nakano started by evaluating the new fuel injection components and injection mapping, before moving on to evaluate minor chassis changes and the latest rear slicks from Kawasaki's tyre partner, Bridgestone.

Nakano also tested a revised front fork on his Ninja ZX-RR, which has been designed to give the rider a more progressive feel from the front of the bike. The 26-year-old Japanese rider was positive about the changes, finding the new fork to be an improvement over the old, especially under braking.

MotoGP, 2004, Kawasaki Racing Team

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