By the completion of the opening day of the official Barcelona MotoGP test session, Kawasaki's Shinya Nakano was able to select the type of 'Big-Bang' engine he wants to race at the opening GPs of the 2005 season.

The Japanese star set the twelfth fastest lap time at the recently resurfaced Catalunya circuit today - putting him 1.2secs behind pace setter Max Biaggi, but the same margin inside his best race lap from the 2004 Catalan GP. Nakano and Japanese test rider Kazuki Shimizu worked almost exclusively on evaluating the 'Big-Bang' version of the team's in-line four cylinder motor.

"Today I was able to confirm my preference of big-bang engine specification, at least for the first two races," stated Shinya after his 77 laps. "I prefer the earlier of the two versions, which gives me more control and feeling on the throttle, although we still have some work to do on fine-tuning the engine braking system. Even though I'm a second faster than my best race lap here it is not enough, because everyone else is going faster."

"We have two different versions of the 'Big-Bang' motor here with different firing orders, and Shinya and Kazuki compared those today," confirmed technical director Ichiro Yoda. "From this we have confirmed the configuration we will use for the opening two GPs in Jerez and Estoril.

"Shinya prefers the earlier version of the 'Big-Bang', it gives him more control, and this will be the motor that both Shinya and Alex will use in the opening races. We will continue further development and revise that decision after the first two events," he added.

Despite that decision, second race rider Hofmann continued to ride with last year's even-firing 'screamer' engine configuration today, the German lapping 1.7secs quicker than in the 2004 GP and just 0.221secs slower than Nakano.

Hofmann will be supplied with 'Big-Bang' motors for next week's second IRTA test, in Jerez, but today he concentrated on chassis and tyre testing - including evaluation of swinging arm and weight distribution set-ups.

"The new track surface is generally much smoother, although in some places the work has moved the bumps from one part of the track to another," revealed Alex after his 77 laps. "I tried a couple of versions of the 2005 chassis, with different stiffness, and some new rear tyres from Bridgestone.

"The new track surface appears to have changed wear rates on the tyres so this will be an important part of testing over the weekend. I'm a racer and would prefer to have some track time with the 'Big-Bang' motor but that is not an option with limited supply and I must respect Kawasaki's decision for Shinya to do that part of the testing," he added.

Barcelona test times - Friday:

1.Max Biaggi ITA Repsol Honda 1min 43.158 secs
2.Sete Gibernau SPA Telefonica Movistar Honda 1min 43.254 secs
3.Makoto TamadaJPN Konica Minolta Honda 1min 43.347 secs
4.Marco MelandriITA Telefonica Movistar Honda 1min 43.433 secs
5.Valentino RossiITA Gauloises Yamaha 1min 43.518 secs
6.Colin Edwards USA Gauloises Yamaha 1min 43.882 secs
7.Alex Barros BRA Camel Honda 1min 43.902 secs
8.Loris CapirossiITA Ducati Marlboro 1min 43.974 secs
9.Carlos Checa SPA Ducati Marlboro 1min 44.102 secs
10.Kenny RobertsUSA Team Suzuki 1min 44.282 secs
11.Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda 1min 44.284 secs
12.Shinya NakanoJPN Fuchs Kawasaki1min 44.325 secs
13.Troy Bayliss AUS Camel Honda 1min 44.403 secs
14.Alex HofmannGER Fuchs Kawasaki1min 44.548 secs
15.Toni Elias SPA Fortuna Yamaha 1min 44.55 secs
16.Ruben Xaus SPA Fortuna Yamaha 1min 44.787 secs
17.John Hopkins USA Team Suzuki 1min 44.849 secs
18.Shinichi Itoh JPN Ducati-Bridgestone 1min 45.043 secs
19.Nobuatsu AokiJPN Team Suzuki 1min 45.727 secs
20. Roberto Rolfo ITA D'Antin Ducati 1min 46.331 secs
21.Shane ByrneGBR Team KR-KTM1min 47.152 secs
22.James EllisonGBR Blata WCM1min 47.663 secs
23.Vittoriano Guareschi ITA Ducati Marlboro 1min 48.217 secs
24.Franco BattainiITA Blata WCM1min 49.115 secs
25.Shimizu KazukiJPN Fuchs Kawasaki1min 56.136 secs

Comparative lap times:

Catalan Grand Prix - 13/6/2004:

Pole position: Sete Gibernau SPA Telefonica Movistar Honda 1min 42.596secs

Fastest laps: Honda: Sete Gibernau SPA Camel Honda 1min 44.641secsYamaha: Marco Melandri ITA Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 1min 44.708secs Ducati: Ruben Xaus SPA D'Antin Ducati 1min 45.119secsSuzuki: Kenny Roberts USA Team Suzuki 1min 45.477secsKawasaki: Shinya Nakano JPN Fuchs Kawasaki 1min 45.532secsAprilia: Shane Byrne GBR MS Aprilia 1min 47.038secsProton KR: Nobuatsu Aoki JPN Proton Team KR 1min 47.739secs

 

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