Three days of tests in Malaysia followed by another three in Australia - a journey of ten days in total - came to an end in the final session today, with one last big effort from the team and riders. The Camel Honda team have worked hard every day and made the most of all the available track time as they look to find a base set-up for the RC211V 2005. Alex Barros was consistently amongst the top riders at the Malaysian test, working on the set-up of the electronics and tyres tests with optimum results. In Australia he has continued to work closely with the Michelin technicians with excellent feedback whilst a front fork test, which was the main focus of his work today, has left certain room for improvement. Troy Bayliss, who has to adapt not only to new technical staff in 2005 but also to a completely different bike to anything he has ridden up to now, has worked relentlessly to try and find a better feeling with the bike. Next on the agenda for Camel Honda is the Qatar test from 1st to 3rd March and the team presentation in Milan on 16th March.
Ramon Forcada - Camel Honda - (Alex Barros' Chief Engineer)
"We were expecting a little bit more today from the tests we carried out on the front forks, which are specially designed for this circuit. However, there is still work to do. We've found a few good things related to the electronic settings and other things that we can discard. But that is exactly what tests are for and we're still not even close to the start of the season. At the next tests in Qatar, where the track is dirty and slippery, it will be an ideal chance to work on the electronics of the bike."
Alex Barros - Camel Honda - 1'30.55 (82 laps) 7th fastest
"We worked a lot on the new forks today but we honestly haven't had the results we were hoping for. I'm losing half a second because of it because the rest of the bike is fine. There are two positive things to take out of it though - firstly that the race here in Australia is not until October, so we have plenty of time to make progress with the forks, and secondly I am really happy with the work we have done here and in Malaysia with Michelin. They are preparing very well for the new season and when we put all the data they have gathered from tests on the compound and construction into practice, I think the results will be excellent. We'll be able to verify that in Qatar, although it is not the best circuit because we don't have many references there, and definitely at the Irta tests in Spain".
Santiago Mulero - Camel Honda (Troy Bayliss' Chief Engineer)
"We're still working hard. Today was more or less the same as yesterday in terms of lap times but the important thing is that Troy is lapping consistently with a good pace. In Malaysia we didn't make much progress but here we have, so I think we should continue like this, making gradual progress with every lap without confusing matters.
Troy Bayliss - Camel Honda - 1'30.98 (85 laps) 10th fastest
"I did the same time on race tyres today as I did yesterday, which is more or less the same as I did at the GP here last October on qualifiers (1'30.87). We're still not up there with the fast guys but we're not far off. We've worked a lot over these few days and we will continue to do so at the next tests in Qatar. I can't wait to get there actually - not because I like the track particularly but I just want to improve. In any case I'm leaving here lot happier than Malaysia."
Unofficial lap times;
- 1. Rossi (Yamaha) 1'29.68
- 2. Hayden (Honda) - 1'29.69
- 3 Checa (Ducati) - 1'29.86
- 4. Biaggi (Honda) - 1'29.88
- 5. Capirossi (Ducati) - 1'30.18
- 6. Edwards (Yamaha) - 1'30.23
- 7. Barros (Camel Honda) - 1'30.55
- 8. Hopkins (Suzuki) - 1'30.85
- 9. Melandri (Honda) - 1'30.90
- 10. Bayliss (Camel Honda) - 1'30.98
- 11. Roberts (Suzuki) - 1'31.21
- 12. Xaus (Yamaha) - 1'31.98
- 13. Elias (Yamaha) - 1'32.96