Rossi smashes Jerez lap record in first four stroke test

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VALENTINO ROSSI’S first serious test on Honda’s new V5 four-stroke GP at Jerez saw him demolish his own lap record by over half a second.

Rossi completed 46 laps on his RCV on the first day of the test setting a best time of 1.43.1, which easily beat his time set on the NSR500 two-stroke, set at the Spanish GP earlier this year, and a time of 1.43.77.

The 22-year-old Italian said: “The bike is good, and it has great potential. Honda have been very skilful in developing and modifying the bike after the Suzuka test in August. They have improved the bike in almost every area I asked them to. We just started working on the set-up of the bike to suit Jerez but I have to say everything is positive.”

When world 125, 250 and 500 champion Rossi first tested the bike shortly after he’d won the Suzuka Eight-hour world endurance race, but he complained that he was too cramped and didn’t get enough wind protection because the RCV is so narrow.

Rossi’s new team-mate Tohru Ukawa completed 72 laps and was a further 0.4s slower on the bike that ran in Repsol colours.

Honda’s new 500 recruit Daijiro Katoh was also in Jerez and the reigning world 250 champion completed 43 laps clocking a best time of 1.43.98.

The Japanese rider said: “Everything is so different to the 250 I raced. At the moment the machine is not set-up for me like riding position, suspension so I need a lot more time on the bike.”

His Gresini 250 team-mates Roberto Rolfo and Emilio Alzamora were also at the test.

Dutch rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh was also in Jerez testing his works Honda NSR500 for the first time on the new Bridgestone tyres.

After completing 27 laps with a best time of 1.46.0, he said: “I expected the huge power but not the smooth delivery. The bike is very stable, particularly under braking.”

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff