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The factory Yamahas run in 2 seperate teams (actually 2-1/2, including the leased D'Antin slot). Fortuna and Gauloises are sister companies (subsidiaries of the same parent company), but have seperate budgets etc. All the Yamaha press releases (or at least the English language ones) are being issued by Fortuna -- early on, their releases often wouldn't even mention the other Yamahas. I am speculating that the Gauloises PR department does not have someone sufficiently proficient in English to do this, so they leave it to Fortuna.



I suppose it is natural for Fortuna to more prominantly feature their own team, plus Fortuna is a Spanish tobacco brand and Checa is a Spanish rider, which enters into it as well.



I am guessing that if you looked on a French language site, you might find Gauloises press releases with comments from Barros and Jacque (especially since Jacque is the only French rider in the MotoGP class).



As a somewhat related aside, you will note that all reports on Aprilia times come from sources other than Aprilia press releases. That is because Aprilia Racing does not currently have a PR agent. Colin's dad, or sometimes his wife, will sometimes post times on various sites, and often other teams with whom they share the track post the Aprilia times along with their own.
 

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I just discovered on the Yamaha Racing web site that they do have a PR rep responsible for MotoGP. I just sent him an e-mail expressing the concerns you raised. I suggested that Yamaha Racing, rather than Fortuna, should be responsible for releasing this information. Hopefully, I will get a response.



Bob
 

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Rossi Tribute to Barry Sheene

Valentino Rossi appeared at the Barcelona IRTA tests this weekend (15-16 March) with a new helmet design paying tribute to 2-time former 500GP World Champion Barry Sheene, who died last week of throat and stomach cancer. CLICK HERE to see it.

It is generally believed that Sheene's death was largely a result of his famous cigarette addiction -- he once had a hole drilled in the front of his helmet so he could get a quick smoke without having to remove the helmet.

A number of fans are commenting on the irony of all the touching tributes to Barry, from racers who are sponsored largely by tobacco companies. Rossi is not one of those, as he nearly broke with Honda over his refusal to accept any tobacco company money. Reports suggest that he may have taken as much as a $1 million per year pay cut for standing by his principles
 

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Yamaha, Ducati, Honda in First Practice Session

For the first time with all the bikes on the track on the same day, Alex Barros showed that his pattern of dominating the off-season test sessions is not a fluke. In spite of cool conditions (air temp 12C, track temp 19C, humidity 56%) and a session cut short by afternoon rain showers, he put his Yamaha M1 at the top of the charts one again, with a time well under Max Biaggi's qualifying record, and almost 1-1/2 seconds under Rossi's fastest race lap from last year.

Perhaps even more surprising is that Loris Capirossi put his Ducati in a close second, ahead of the fastest Hondas of Sete Gibernau and Valentino Rossi. Sete's 3rd place itself is a bit of a surprise, but less so once you realize that this is his home track.

A few riders were obviously not riding at their expected levels -- in some cases because they were not familiar with the track, but this does not explain all the slow times. Max Biaggi, who has raced there frequently, was way down in 14th spot, behind both Suzukis and Tamada's Bridgestone-shod RCV, and barely ahead of Hoffman's and Pitt's Kawasakis.

Colin Edwards, who had never seen the track until today, was 13th quickest. Troy Bayliss, who first saw the track on Thursday, was 22nd and Nicky Hayden was 24th, 2.8 seconds off Barros pace. In typical fashion, Nicky put in the most laps (62)

In addition, Capirossi obliterated the old top speed mark of 317 km/h set by Ukawa on his RCV last year, with a radar clocked speed of 325.9 km/h (202 mph). Troy Bayliss set the second highest top speed of 322.4 km/h (200mph). Clearly, the Ducatis are not lacking in power!

As an indication of how far the bar has been raised, the fastest 16 bikes (in top speed)today were faster than the old record. Interestingly, aside from Capi, the riders with the quickest lap times were generally well down in top speeds -- Barros was 14th and Sete was 16th. Also interesting is that the Suzukis and Kawasakis were among the fastest in top speed, suggesting that their problem is not a shortage of horsepower.

The tests continue tomorrow (Sunday) with another free session in the morning, then the special 1 hour qualifying session in the afternood (1400-1500 CET -- 8:00-9:00 EST), followed by a final free session.

To see more on the tests, CLICK HERE and HERE
 
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