Yamaha Belgarda ended the three-day Valencia test World Supersport test with both their riders - Jurgen van den Goorbergh and new signing Fabien Foret - outpacing reigning champions Ten Kate Honda.

Flying Dutchman 'VDG' set the pace with a best lap of 1min 38.0secs, leaving him 0.3secs clear of Foret and in confident mood of launching a 2004 title challenge on his R6.

"Generally I'm very content with what we've done here," stated Jurgen after 130 laps. "We've tried lots of things and I think it's been a very productive test for us all. We've gained a lot of information and now we'll take that back to our workshops and use it to get ready for our next tests. The good news is that we know which direction to go and now when the next season begins, I will be ready straightaway. I will not be learning a new bike and new circuits - like I had to this year."

Meanwhile, former champion Foret made an immediate impact with the team, and proved he'd lost none of his speed after a season with Kawasaki. However, the Frenchman's delight was balanced by an end of test crash which hurt his left hand.

"At the end I crashed and maybe it was my fault. The tyre was a new one and maybe it hadn't got up top temperature and I highsided in turn one," Foret explained. "I banged my left hand and maybe cracked a little bone in my thumb, but it's nothing really and I'll be OK for the next test for sure.

"(But) that was a very good test and I am happy with everything so far," he insisted. "I am particularly happy because I feel I made some good progress today and although my times really weren't any better, I felt much more comfortable on the bike. I did a run of about 15 laps, all in the 1min 38s, so that made me very happy. It's a shame about the crash, but I'm glad it happened right at the end of three days instead of at the start! I'm looking forward to the next test and getting my leg over the R6 again. I think I'm going to enjoy myself next year!"

Menahwile, Ten Kate team-mates Karl Muggeridge and new signing Broc Parkes were within a tenth of the Frenchman, setting up the possibility of a close fought Honda vs. Yamaha 2004 championship.

The introduction of all-Pirelli tyres in the 2004 championship had little effect for the WSS teams since the likes of Belgarda and Ten Kate have been using the Italian brand this season anyway.

Leading Supersport times - Valencia test.

1. Jurgen van den Goorbergh NED Belgarda Yamaha 1min 38.0secs
2. Fabien Foret FRA Belgarda Yamaha 1min 38.3secs

Comparative lap times - 2003 Valencia WSS:

Qualifying: Katsuaki Fujiwara JPN Alstare Suzuki 1min 37.687secsRace:: Alessio Corradi ITA Italia Spadaro F.R. 1min 38.874secs

 

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