Most MotoGP teams have had an opportunity to put their machines through some testing before Sunday’s race at Estoril, with the front-runners all vying for a chance to dethrone Valentino Rossi.

Most MotoGP teams have had an opportunity to put their machines through some testing before Sunday’s race at Estoril, with the front-runners all vying for a chance to dethrone Valentino Rossi.

Rossi currently holds a 17-point lead over the rest of the pack and Sete Gibernau, in particular, will be hoping to put his new material into action this weekend. Gibernau was able to experiment with Honda’s new exhaust system in testing after the last Brno GP and may decide to race with it this weekend.

Meanwhile, the Yamaha team has been working extensively to further develop Rossi’s M1 engine, though the long awaited more powerful engine is still not making its appearance.

“The Doctor” will be chasing his fourth successive GP win at in Portugal this weekend, while his Spanish adversary, Gibernau, has a track record at Estoril that is less than exemplary. Lying third in the championship, Max Biaggi has never won in Portugal, though he was able to scoop a second place finish last year.

However, Yamaha and Honda were not the only teams who decided to stay on at Brno for further testing. Ducati, Suzuki, Proton, WCM and other teams all conducted tests at the Czech circuit as the need to close the gap on the lead riders becomes more apparent.

Loris Capirossi started last year’s race in pole position on his Marlboro Ducati, and his difficult season in 2004 seems to be improving with a fifth in Brno. He currently lies eighth in the championship, seven points behind Rossi’s team-mate Carlos Checa.

Kawasaki riders Shinya Nakano and Alex Hoffman will be running their ZX-RRs with different specifications after the last testing at Brno.

Hoffman will use the latest Akrapovic exhaust system and a revised engine specification as part of the development programme, while Nakano will race with the proven Kawasaki machine that has already delivered four top ten positions this season.

"The Brno test was very productive for Kawasaki engineers and the ZX-RR program. It was a busy two days and we made important gains with the new Öhlins front forks, and also with the fuel injection system," stated team manager Harald Eckl.