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Yamaha and Suzuki unveil 2008 prototypes at Motegi

Yamaha and Suzuki unveil 2008 prototypes at Motegi

With the riders' championship settled at Motegi, two teams looking to snatch the title from Ducati and Casey Stoner next season both began their public preparations for the 2008 season yesterday in Japan.

With the riders' championship settled at Motegi, two teams looking to snatch the title from Ducati and Casey Stoner next season both began their public preparations for the 2008 season yesterday in Japan. Both Fiat Yamaha and Rizla Suzuki ran prototypes of their machines for next year in one form or another, and are likely to continue work on the forthcoming projects in a final day of testing today.

Valentino Rossi was given the chance to ride a raw version of the 2008 M1, although it was not a completely new machine as they ran Sunday's race engines in addition to a selection of chassis. Team-mate Colin Edwards did not ride the prototype, but seems set to use it next season riding for Yamaha Tech 3, with only official confirmation of his move to the satellite team yet to arrive.

"Today we did the very first test with the first prototype of next year's M1," said Rossi after trying out the machine with a plain black paint scheme. " It is not a completely new bike, because the engine is the same as we used yesterday in the race, but we tested two different chassis. We used the same engine as yesterday in order to be able to better judge any improvement."

"One chassis was stiffer than the other and with the stiffer one I felt some vibration, but with the intermediate one my feeling was really very good. Of course this is the first step, but with that in mind it was a pretty good test. Now we must work on the engine for next year. After the last race in Valencia we will test the chassis again, and also a different engine, so I look forward to seeing it there."

Aside from working with the 2008 machine, Rossi also focused his work on understanding the problem which effectively confirmed the end of his title challenge.

"Today we also tested some new material from Michelin and did some good work, especially with a new front tyre, which gives me a very good feeling. We were also able to understand the problem we had yesterday with the front tyre. It seems that the problem was the temperature; when I re-entered the track after the change the pit-lane was still wet and the temperature of the front tyre dropped drastically. That's why Colin and I could not ride the bike in the very first laps; we both had the same problem. Now we go to Australia and I am confident we will be competitive there and that we can finish the championship in the best possible way."

Rizla Suzuki also debuted their 2008 model in the public domain, although the bike has seen a fair few miles already in private tests. Nobuatsu Aoki, the team's second test rider – who is set to make a wild card appearance at the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix next month - was the man in charge of working with the bike at the test yesterday. The departing John Hopkins was not testing for the team and Chris Vermeulen was concentrating on tyre development.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, A-STYLE GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN

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