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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 03-06-2006, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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Motogp: Checa: It's not as good as it looks!

During his short time as a Tech 3 Yamaha rider, Carlos Checa seems to have found himself in the usual situation of trying to play down expectations for the 2006 MotoGP season - after repeating delivering sensationally fast testing lap times.

The first Official MotoGP Test proved no different as the former factory Yamaha and Ducati rider guided the satellite team's Dunlop shod 2006 YZR-M1 to the second fastest overall time - behind only Yamaha's Michelin shod world champion Valentino Rossi, of the factory Camel backed team.

However, while unable to deny the obvious one lap speed of his technical package, Checa was at pains to point out that he is currently unable to sustain his speed for a full race distance.

"Obviously it's very encouraging to have been so fast all weekend and it seems that the bike and tyres are working well here," began Carlos. "The main area we have to concentrate on is the performance of the tyres after a few laps. Over a short distance everything is great but after six or seven laps it starts to get harder.

"At the moment it's hard to say what will happen in the race. This is the reality at the moment and it's something that Dunlop and Yamaha together are concentrating very hard on. I hope we will have some new tyres to try soon," he added.

Nevertheless, Checa's three days at Catalunya saw the Spaniard finish third fastest on day one, second fastest on day two and then third again on the rain interrupted third and final day - in which he was also a contender for the BMW M Award, before being one of a number of riders caught out by the tricky conditions.

"My fall in the 'qualifying session' was disappointing but it was the same for Valentino and Kenny Roberts, we all fell in the same place," said the double 500GP race winner, who dropped to 8th in the session after his fall. "Anyway I am not hurt and this is the most important thing. The M1 is very good although of course we have some more to do on the setting, and we'll keep working at this next week in Jerez.

"Anyway I am very pleased with the work we have done this weekend. We have a clear vision of where we need to go and everyone is very happy and enthusiastic about the job we have. We have a good base setting to work on throughout the season. We need to stay focused on the job in hand and I am confident that the results will come," Checa concluded.

On the other side of the garage, Yamaha rookie James Ellison continued his M1 learning curve at the test - setting the 16th fastest dry lap time out of the 20 riders present - but shone on the wet final day, netting fourth in the BMW Award.

"Overall I am really happy with how far we have come this weekend," began James. "I was a bit disappointed with the weather because we made some huge steps forward (on Saturday) and we had more plans for Sunday, which we couldn't complete because of the rain. In fact we learnt a lot on Saturday and improved by about two seconds, so who knows what we could have done if the sun had shined!

"It was great to come to a track I really like and to enjoy riding again after hitting something of a wall in Sepang," he admitted. "I've been more relaxed and have started to treat the bike a little more like 'my' bike - letting it move around a bit more. The tyres are generally feeling good for me. I tried some qualifiers but didn't really use them to my advantage and my best times throughout the weekend have been on race tyres.

"Anyway I was slightly praying for some rain at some point because I know how good the Dunlops are in the rain. It was a real boost to see the number 77 at the top of the screens for some time during the qualifying session!" grinned the Briton.

Meanwhile, the combined efforts of both Checa and Ellison at the test left Tech 3 team manager Herve Poncharal a happy man after an "incredible" weekend the Frenchman also stating that signing the out-of-work Checa was "the best thing that could have happened" for both the team and Ellison.

"This weekend has been incredible; far, far beyond our expectations," he enthused. "So far we've been to three tracks (Qatar, Sepang and Catalunya) and the bike has behaved very well at all three. We've used more or less the same base setting in each place and it's worked well each time. This shows how good the M1 is and it has also allowed us to concentrate on tyre testing, which is the most important thing for us right now. Tonight I am a very, very happy team manager! We've been fast in the dry and in the wet.

"Carlos is the best thing that could have happened to the Team. He's brought so much to us. He is as enthusiastic as a beginner, but with all the talent and knowledge of experience. He has helped everyone so much and he is the best possible thing also for James. Before there was so much pressure on James, but now Carlos is showing him the way and showing what's possible with this bike and our Dunlop tyres.

"James has access to all Carlos' data and this weekend he has improved each day. He knows what he has to do. We have the best possible combination between a young, talented rider with a lot to learn but great potential and an older rider with great experience who is hungry for results," added Herve.

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