Catalunya GP test: day 1

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Honda mounted its attack on the Valentino Rossi Yamaha threat by taking the top four fastest times on the first day of the Catalunya IRTA test on Friday.

Max Biaggi took the top time on his Repsol Honda in the opening practice session after snatching the fastest lap away from Movistar Honda rider Sete Gibernau on his last lap.

The Hondas of Makoto Tamada and Marco Melandri took third and fourth consining current champion Valentino Rossi to fifth place on the Yamaha, with team-mate Colin Edwards close behind in sixth.

While the Hondas were having a positive start to the season, Rossi complained that his team was having difficulties with the 2005 YZR-M1.

“We’re having quite a few problems finding the right set-up and I haven’t had great feeling so far, especially with the front,” said Rossi. “I hope tomorrow we feel better but we need to find a solution to this problem.

“We have to work on engine performance as well over the next two days and find out what’s going wrong. Anyway, I am confident that the team will find out the way we need to go and we have two more days to get there.”

Brits Shayne Byrne and James Ellsion came in in 21st and 22nd with neither Byrne’s Proton or Ellison’s Blata having had much development time before the test.

The is the first time that the V6 Blata WCM machine has been seen on track and the team had not even expected to be ready for the test.

Official times:

Max Biaggi 1:43.158

Sete Gibernau 1:43.254

Makoto Tamada 1:43.347

Marco Melandri 1:43.433

Valentino Rossi 1:43.518

Colin Edwards 1:43.882

Alex Barros 1:43.902

Loris Capirossi 1:43.974

Carlos Checa 1:44.102

Kenny Roberts 1:44.282

Nicky Hayden 1:44.284

Shinya Nakano 1:44.325

Troy Bayliss 1:44.403

Alex Hofmann 1:44.548

Toni Elias 1:44.550

Ruben Xaus 1:44.787

John Hopkins 1:44.849

Shinichi Itoh 1:45.043

Nobuatsu Aoki 1:45.727

Roberto Rolfo 1:46.331

Shane Byrne 1:47.152

James Ellison 1:47.663

Vittoriano Guareschi 1:48.217

Franco Battaini 1:49.115

Kazuki Shimizu 1:56.136

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff