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MotoGP - Fortuna Honda Continue To Make Progress At Catalunya Test - March 5th 2006


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    The final day of official IRTA tests at the Circuit de Catalunya was watched by 35,000 fans today although they and the MotoGP riders were forced to endure bitter weather conditions that made life difficult on the track and in the grandstand.

    The BMW Award that took place between 14:00 and 14:45 was spoiled slightly by the strong wind and rain that hit the circuit in the morning. American rider Colin Edwards eventually drove away in the magnificent BMW Z4 after clocking a lap time of 1'59.492, whilst Fortuna Honda riders Marco Melandri and Toni Elias were forced to settle for sixth and fifteenth place respectively.

    In the afternoon Fortuna Honda rider Toni Elías followed his testing programme for today despite the poor track conditions. Marco, meanwhile, decided not to return to the track after coming in at 14:45.

    Melandri wore a new helmet design today bearing the logo of the non-profit organisation "Emergency", which will be auctioned for the charity next week on Ebay.com

    The Fortuna Honda team now heads to Jerez for the second and final set of official tests which take place on the 10, 11 and 12 March.

    Marco Melandri (2'00.218) 6th fastest: "We took a step forward today. We continued making satisfactory progress in understanding the problems that affect us. In a roundabout way the track conditions actually helped us with the set-up of the bike but we still have to work hard to find a comfortable setting for corner entry. I'm already looking forward to the next set of tests at Jerez next week - we have to make the most of the remaining time available to us before the start of the world championship."

    Toni Elias (2'05.961 ) 15th fastest "This is not an easy situation but we have to stay focused and try to find a solution as soon as possible. The conditions we had to ride in throughout the day didn't make things easy for us but the key to results is to keep working day by day and I feel calm about that - I have complete confidence in myself and my team. Bit by bit things will come together for us. I feel sorry for the fans, who had to put up with the rain all day, but for us to ride in the wet was a good opportunity to check the reactions of the bike in these conditions. We have to gather all this data together now and save it in case we come up against similar conditions during the season."