After being in a class of his own on day one at Barcelona, Alex Barros found himself under more pressure from the retuning Carlos Checa on day two - but responded with a lap 0.5secs inside the pole time from last year's GP.

The Yamaha stars again benefited from much needed favourable weather, after their earlier tests were rained out, and all five riders got 5 hours each of uninterrupted track time, with the long Catalunya straight testing their M1 engines to the max.

Barros tested a new shock absorber and tyres during his 58 laps, knocking 0.8secs off his Monday time in the process to once again end the test as top Yamaha. However, his only real rival in the M1 stable, Carlos Checa, crashed heavily on Monday and was still a little sore - denting his challenge.

Nevertheless, the Spaniard got to within 0.3secs of Barros and was positive about his day's achievements.

"I still felt slightly sore today but generally I am OK," admitted Carlos. "I am happy with my performance today, as I found some consistent laps. I also went the fastest that I have ever ridden at this circuit. The weather conditions today weren't great either, so I think there is even more room to improve".

Checa completed a total of 46 laps and improved on his previous Grand Prix lap time of 1min 45.2ssecs by 0.9secs.

Third fastest was Shinya Nakano, the quiet Japanese rider finding 1.3secs on the second day to exactly match Barros' day one pace, but overall the talented D'Antin rider was still 0.8secs down.

Behind ShinYa was MotoGP rookie Marco Melandri, the Fortuna rider completing more laps than anyone [75], and ending the test with a race simulation to give him vital experience that he will need when the season begins in Suzuka, on 6th April.

Melandri came away from the test feeling much more confident than at the previous test in Valencia two weeks ago, where he suffered some front braking problems. The young 250cc World Champion found difficulties adjusting his style to suit the four-stroke's heavy braking, and worked with team supplier Brembo to find a way towards a solution to the problem.

"At the end of today I did 16 laps in a row as a kind of a 'race test', to try to understand what the bike will feel like at the end of a race," explained Melandri, 1.7secs slower than Barros. "I am happy with what I achieved here, as I managed to record a best lap time of 1min 45.7secs."

Fortuna Team Director Davide Brivio was also impressed, with both his riders: "Carlos has had another very good day today even though he fell yesterday, and Marco has increased his confidence with the bike. Brembo have done a good job supporting him, making the changes he needed to feel more stable with front braking."

Rounding out the field was Olivier Jacque, 3.7secs off the pace. The recovering French rider worked on Barros's second bike and said his first impressions were very positive, noticing an improved chassis with greater stability that allowed him to turn in better. Olivier was also able to test a new suspension, as well as work on the M1's fuel injection.

The upcoming IRTA tests at Jerez, on February 21-23, will allow the Yamaha riders, mounted on identical machinery, to compare their progress with that of the competition.

Yamaha Barcelona test - Day 2:

1. Alex Barros Gauloises Yamaha Team 1min 44.0secs
2. Carlos Checa Fortuna Yamaha Team 1min 44.3secs
3. Shinya Nakano Team Yamaha D'Antin 1min 44.8secs
4. Marco Melandri Fortuna Yamaha Team 1min 45.7secs
5. Olivier Jacque Gauloises Yamaha Team 1min 47.7secs

Comparative lap times - 2002 Catalunya Grand Prix:

Pole position: Max Biaggi Marlboro Yamaha 1min 44.523secsFastest lap: Valentino Rossi Repsol Honda 1min 45.954secs