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May 17, 2002

Checa First, Rossi Second, Roberts 13th, Hopkins 19th In Provisional Qualifying For The French Grand Prix

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Friday MotoGP Qualifying Results:<BR><BR>1. Carlos Checa, Yamaha YZR-M1, 1:36.591<BR>2. Valentino Rossi, Honda RC211V, 1:36.684<BR>3. Shinya Nakano, Yamaha YZR500, 1:36.714<BR>4. Max Biaggi, Yamaha YZR-M1, 1:36.829<BR>5. Loris Capirossi, Honda NSR500, 1:36.915<BR>6. Tohru Ukawa, Honda RC211V, 1:36.939<BR>7. Norick Abe, Yamaha YZR500, 1:36.961<BR>8. Olivier Jacque, Yamaha YZR500, 1:37.212<BR>9. Sete Gibernau, Suzuki GSV-R, 1:37.226<BR>10. Alex Barros, Honda NSR500, 1:37.236<BR>11. Daijiro Kato, Honda NSR500, 1:37.291<BR>12. Jurgen vd Goorbergh, Honda NSR500, 1:37.385<BR>13. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki GSV-R, 1:37.462<BR>14. Jeremy McWilliams, Proton KR3, 1:37.575<BR>15. Tetsuya Harada, Honda NSR500, 1:37.825<BR>16. Nobuatsu Aoki, Proton KR3, 1:37.971<BR>17. Regis Laconi, Aprilia RS3, 1:37.988<BR>18. Garry McCoy, Yamaha YZR500, 1:38.235<BR>19. John Hopkins, Yamaha YZR500, 1:38.302<BR>20. Jose Luis Cardoso, Yamaha YZR500, 1:39.295<BR><BR>More from an Aprilia press release:<BR><BR>Régis improves his time in the free practice but ends 17th in the first official sessions. <BR><BR>An overcast sky during the tests heralded the great wave of bad weather announced yesterday. The MotoGP sessions were in the dry, but the rain was approaching and arrived just a few minutes after the finish. In the morning sessions, Régis Laconi made thirteenth best time, a bit over a second after the leader, Checa. After ten minutes in the afternoon qualifying sessions, he cut a second off the free practice times: 1'37.988, making 17th provisional place.<BR><BR># 55 Régis Laconi – (MS APRILIA RACING) – 17th - 1'37.988<BR><BR>"We haven't yet found the right settings for the engine brake/clutch system. This meant I had some difficulty entering very tight corners, and twice I missed the curve completely and went straight down the escape track. It's a pity, because thing aren't going badly, and I tried out a number of things on the bike with some pretty good results. Even so, what really matters is the final position and I'm not happy to find myself in 17th place. There are some sections on the track where I lose a few tenths and they all add up to that 1 second and 3 tenths: however close it may be to the leader, it pushes you down the ratings. The Cube's coming on and I'm pleased, but I'd clearly like to do better on my "home" track. Now we'll see what the weather holds in store for us. I've already got some good references for the race, but if it rains tomorrow and I can't improve today's times, my starting position won't be that great."<BR><BR>More from a Red Bull Yamaha press release:<BR><BR>GARRY McCoy- 18TH 1.38.235<BR><BR>"My quickest lap today, lap 16 of 23 was on the soft Dunlop race tyres so we have some reasonable options for race day. We have to make a few set-up changes tonight. I am still having some pain in my ankle from my break at the Estoril test in February this year but hopefully things will improve for me on Saturday."<BR><BR><BR>JOHN HOPKINS ­19TH 1.38.302<BR><BR>"Its my first time at this track and although I placed 19th, I've improved on my time from this mornings practice session by 1.4 seconds so I am happy with that. With some work on the front end tonight I know I can continue to improve tomorrow. At one stage during qualifying, the front end folded under me, in Turn 1 and it took all my physical strength to hold the bike up, so I guess I have learnt not to go into Turn 1 quite as hard as I had planned. <BR><BR>"I am learning the racing lines here with every lap and I used this session today to follow as many of the other riders as possible. Tonight, I plan to review my ride today and see where the opportunities are for me to improve tomorrow." <BR><BR><BR><BR> <BR>