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MotoGP merry-go-round in hectic Valencia test session

MotoGP merry-go-round in hectic Valencia test session

MotoGP merry-go-round in hectic Valencia test session

With the final chapter of the 2002 MotoGP season closed here on Sunday, the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo was today the host to the first of many tests in an intriguing winter period. For months now the rumours about which riders will be racing where in 2003 have been raging on in the paddock, and some of those stories appear to be manifesting themselves in today and tomorrow´s first shakedown tests.

Race-winner here on board the Honda Pons RC211V machine on Sunday, Alex Barros made his first laps on the Yamaha M1 he will be riding next year in Gauloises colours. The Brazilian rode on a sponsorless bike, and remarked at the end of the day, ´I´m very happy indeed, the Yamaha is just as good as the Honda, and I have already started to ride quickly with it. This factory bike is the opportunity I have been waiting for throughout the 16 years of my career, and it will give me the dream chance to be able to fight for the MotoGP title´.

Making the switch the opposite way was Max Biaggi, who tested the Honda RC211V for the first time today after ending his four-year association with the factory Yamaha squad. The Italian finished as runner-up in the MotoGP World Championship for the third time in his career when he took third place in Sunday´s race, and today he announced objectively, ´Today was just my first taste of a new machine. It is a little bit different, but I am pleased with the decision I have taken. It will take time to get experience on this bike, everything is very new to me, and I will have to get used to its different sensations´.

Also making a return to Honda was Sete Gibernau, who rode his first laps with a Telefonica Movistar-sponsored Gresini Honda, after the Spaniard was confirmed to be part of the new set-up alongside Daijiro Kato in 2003 on Saturday. Carlos Checa, Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano were also out on the track today all riding their Yamaha M1 machines. Garry McCoy was one of those riders changing his colours, as he mounted the Kawasaki ZX-RR to apply his unique style to MotoGP´s latest addition. With Andrew Pitt also putting in some laps, Germany´s Alex Hofmann was another to get on board the green machine today. Finally Roberto Rolfo was also at the Spanish circuit, to do his first laps on Honda´s new development 250 machine, the RS.

Tomorrow at the Valencia circuit will see the debut of Loris Capirossi with the Ducati Desmosedici machine which made its first public track appearance just before the races on Sunday. Capirossi will be joined on the asphalt by his new Australian team-mate Troy Bayliss, who was in charge of doing those demonstration laps, and who has tested the bike previously in Mugello and at Valencia.

MotoGP, 2002

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