After Valentino Rossi’s first laps on the Yamaha YZR-M1 in Sepang, it is two new and exceptional unpublished documents that Yamaha has released from its archives: the presentation day of the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha and Fortuna Gauloises Tech 3 teams!
At that time, the tobacco companies ruled the paddock and invested colossal budgets in sports as well as in business. Gauloises (SEITA) and Fortuna (Tabacalera) were eventually united to become Altadis.
Valentino Rossic and Carlos checa were the official team, norick abe and Marco Melandri working at Tech3.
During the presentation, which took place in Barcelona on 25 March 2004, BBC journalist Suzi Perry heard: Valentino Rossic newly arrived at Yamaha still awarded its titles with Honda: “Of course it was a big decision, a big change for everyone, but also a big challenge for me, a big challenge for all my mechanics and a big challenge for Yamaha. We try. Of course it will be more difficult than last year, but I think it is possible to get good results. The pressure is still quite high. In recent years I only had one possible result, the first, and when I came in second, it was a disaster. Now the situation has changed because we have to work on the bike. We are following and not currently on top. So there is less pressure, but also great motivation and a good feeling.”
On the traditional question of possible targets, the doctor played it rather modestly: “I don’t think we are in a position to fight to win the championship in the first year, but maybe we can get into the top three.”
Visible from 7 minutes into the video…
Under the enthusiastic eye of Masao furusawa, Managing Director of Technology Development at Yamaha Motor Company, Davide Brivio said: “It’s been a very busy winter with something new to try and evaluate each time. But the machine gets better every time. In these last two tests it will be interesting to see where we stand with the competition before we start the competition.”
The four riders then took their blue or red M1s in front of the crowd that had gathered for hours in front of Montjuic Castle to attend a demonstration: happy time when show bikes didn’t exist yet!
Unfortunately, after 20 minutes of burns and wheelies, the Barcelona sun has given way to heavy hail: but we don’t say “rainy wedding, happy wedding?”