Now Ukawa betters Rossi by almost a second

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Tohru Ukawa suffered another crash on the final day of Honda's four-stroke test in Malaysia on Wednesday but it didn't stop the Japanese rider from going almost a second under Valentino Rossi's lap record.

He ended the three-day session with a best time of 2.04.78 which was 0.8s inside Rossi's lap record, set on the NSR two-stroke 500.

But Ukawa did tip off one of the works RCV four stroke machines for the third time in testing.

Ukawa, who was joined by test rider Shinichi Itoh while Rossi stays at home waiting to resolve his contract dispute with Honda, said: "This circuit was good for us to come to because we have been able to test high speed stability and stability under heavy braking."

Proving two-stroke 500s are still going to have a major say in the outcome of the 2002 world championship was Daijiro Katoh who ended up only 0.1s behind Ukawa on his NSR.

A further 0.5s adrift was Loris Capirossi who clocked a best time of 2.05.39, which was well inside his personal best lap set in the Sepang GP last October.

Malaysia is a long way to go for a handful laps but that's what happened to Dutchman Jurgen van den Goorbergh’s bike was still not ready by the final day, after he crashed it on day one.

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff