A positive conclusion to the three days training which the riders of the West Honda Pons team have been undergoing at the Sepang circuit (Malaysia) and which ended yesterday with excellent times for Loris Capirossi. Capirossi and Alex Barros have been sharing the track with the other official Honda riders.

During the three days testing, Loris Capirossi has completed a total of 832 kilometres around the Malaysian track while Alex Barros has completed 721.

Loris Capirossi's fastest lap was 2min 05.2secs, four tenths quicker than the unofficial lap record which the Italian rider set in last season's practice session in the Malaysia GP. Alex Barros' fastest lap was 2min 06.5secs.

The Honda NSR 500 which will be ridden by the West Honda Pons riders is the latest evolution to emerge from the Japanese manufacturer. It is more compact than the previous model with subtle changes to the geometries and suspensions among other things.

"Last year, with the old bike, I did a fantastic time on this track, but that was an exceptional result, whereas the surprising thing about the NSR 2002 is its constant performance," Capirossi said.

"I am feeling more and more confident with the bike and I believe we are heading in the right direction. The fact that I am constantly producing fast times right from the start confirms that we have the potential with this bike to compete in the championship at the very highest level."

Brazilian Barros commented that, on the three days of training "we concentrated all our efforts on preparing the bikes and adjusting them to my style of riding.

"I think that the outcome of this first contact with the bike has been positive. The bike has great potential, much more than the NSR that we rode last year, but it is clear that it must be fully prepared to achieve fast times."

The West Honda Pons team will train again from 15-17 of February during the IRTA training sessions at the Comunitat Valenciana circuit. The official presentation of the team will take place in the same city of Valencia on 14 February at 2000hrs



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