Ukawa proves costly… as Rossi goes faster still

Published: 16 December 2001

Tohru Ukawa is already proving to be an expensive acquisition to Honda’s new four-stroke camp. He crashed on Thursday at the second day of HRC's test at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia, hot on the heels of binning a bike at the Jerez tests.

The Japanese rider tumbled off one of the RCVs as intermittent rain showers and strong winds hit the coastal circuit. The damage was bad enough to limit Ukawa to just 48 laps.

A gust of wind at the exposed first corner pushed Ukawa on the grass and he lost control.

During that stint he clocked a best time of 1.33.10 and was lucky to escape injury in the crash.

He said: "I ran on to the grass and crashed. I was lucky but the bike was damaged. I got caught by the strong wind at the end of the straight, lost the line and went on to the grass."

Despite the conditions being less favourable than yesterday Valentino Rossi put in 61 laps and improved on his time from the first day getting down to a time of 1.32.20.

He said: "I worked a lot on testing tyres and suspension parts. I am beginning to understand this bike and my team are starting to understand how to set the bike up to solve potential problems. We still need to work to achieve the best from this machine. "

Daijiro Katoh was another crash casualty although he too escaped injury. He fell off under braking but managed to shave off 0.3s off his best time from day one eventually finishing with 1.33.30.