The three-day HRC test session for the RC211V MotoGP machine at Sepang, Malaysia, ended yesterday with a string of fast times on the one rain free day of the three day test. HRC team manager Noriaki Nakata returns to Japan satisfied with the results and the technical data recorded over the three days.

"We can be quite satisfied with the results of this three-day test. We tested everything we came here to test and ended with an endurance test, the results of which were very good. We will go back to Japan and work on the information we gained here. I must say development of the RC211V is going in the right direction, very encouraging." Said Nakata.

Despite sliding off the RCV Tohru Ukawa was again the fastest man around the 5.548km track with a time of 2m 04.78s the best from his 54 lap stint on the five-cylinder, 990cc GP machine he will race in 2002.

"I'm happy with the machine, I have a comfortable feeling riding the RCV." Said Tohru Ukawa. "This circuit has been very good for testing many things. High speed stability of the machine, stability under heavy breaking, and we tested tyres, all have improved. Altogether a good test but we still have work to do. Now I can get some rest while waiting for the next test, in mid-February."

HRC test rider Shinichi Itoh was also faster than yesterday. The near veteran, former grand prix rider, has worked tirelessly in support of Ukawa all week and today reeled off 70 laps aboard the RCV. His best time was 2m 05.86s.

"I'm still quite fast, even at my age." Exclaimed Shinichi Itoh. "I enjoyed this test, I really like the track. Now I'm a test rider my duties are different and I am helping the team, and Ukawa San, where I can. The machine is definitely improving with each test and I'm happy to be part of the team developing the RCV."

Reigning 250cc World Champion Daijiro Katoh continues to impress riding the NSR500 2-stroke V-four he will run in the MotoGP class in 2002. Honda Gresini team rider Katoh fired a warning shot across the bows of his MotoGP class rivals when setting a time of 2m 04.86s. The diminutive Japanese star has quickly adapted to the 185PS plus power of the NSR500 and will pose his more experienced rivals considerable problems once the new season gets under way at Suzuka in April.

"The test has been good for me," said Daijiro Katoh. "I'm getting used to the bike and beginning to feel comfortable and trying many things on set-up. The times are good but I still need much more experience on the 500. Luckily we have many more test days before the season starts."

Team West Honda Pons riders Loris Capirossi and Alex Barros both improved their lap times on the last day of the test. Capirossi was the faster of the two. He is in good form early this year and confirmed it with a time of 2m 05.39s. Team mate Barros slid off his NSR but escaped unscathed.

Team Kanemoto did not test, their NSR500 too badly damaged when team rider Jurgen v. d. Goorbergh crashed the machine on Monday.

Tohru Ukawa RC211V 54 laps. Time 2m 04.78s.Shinichi Itoh RC211V 70 laps. Time 2m 05.86s.

Daijiro Katoh NSR500 46 laps. Time 2m 04.86s.Loris Capirossi NSR500 53 laps. Time 2m 05.39s.Alex Barros NSR500 50 laps. Time 2m 06.58s.

 

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