Rossi beats lap-record pace in first Aussie session

Published: 16 December 2001

Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi might not be 100 per cent happy with Honda's new four-stroke GP bike but he was still well under lap record pace on the first day of testing at Phillip Island in Australia on Wednesday.

The Italian clocked a best time of 1.32.44 on the RCV which was 0.3s inside 2000 world champ Kenny Roberts' lap record.

Despite his impressive lap time set in glorious conditions at Phillip Island, Rossi was still echoing his pleas for improvements to the RCV.

When he tested the bike for the first time last month in Jerez, he withdrew from a scheduled session at Catalunya the week after because he felt there was nothing new to test.

Rossi said: "I did a lot of laps and I tried many tyres and we found some good solutions but we still need to work a lot on this bike. We had the same bikes here as we did I Spain and although the bike was very powerful and fast there is still a lot to be done."

Rossi's new team-mate Tohru Ukawa completed 82 laps on the 990cc machine and he was only fractionally slower than the former world 125 and 250 champion. Rossi only completed 59 laps.

Current world 250 champion Daijiro Katoh also continued testing his works Honda NSR500 two-stroke and he set a best time of 1.33.6 having completed 62 laps. Dutchman Jurgen van den Goorbergh was also at the test on his new Bridgestone-shod NSR and he clocked a best time of 1.34.40 after 67 laps.