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Aug 26, 2001

Dueling Press Releases From The Grand Prix At Brno

Marlboro Yamaha Team press release, from today's Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno:<BR><BR>BITTER BRNO DAY FOR MARLBORO YAMAHA<BR><BR>The Marlboro Yamaha Team came to Brno this weekend hopeful of keeping their momentum rolling and taking Max Biaggi another step closer to World<BR>Championship leader Valentino Rossi (Honda). But although Biaggi started the race from pole position and in high hopes, he slid out of the lead while just ahead of his Italian rival, remounting to finish tenth. Teammate Carlos Checa also had a troubled day, coming home seventh.<BR><BR>"That was a real disappointment," said Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust. "We thought we'd done everything just right. We had a great test<BR>session here at the end of July, Max did an incredible lap in qualifying and tried all the tyres to race distance. In the race he was running the kind of pace we expected and he looked comfortable just knocking off the laps. Now<BR>we'll sit down and try and work out what exactly happened. Carlos' pace wasn't as fast as we expected. He got in the wrong group and if you get stuck in the wrong group here it can cost you a second a lap."<BR><BR>UNLUCKY 13TH LAP FOR BIAGGI<BR><BR>Max Biaggi led the first half of this afternoon's crucial Czech GP, keeping arch-rival Valentino Rossi (Honda) at bay until just after half-distance, when the Marlboro Yamaha Team man slid to earth as he rode through turn three. Biaggi bravely remounted his scarred YZR, rejoining the race in 11th to finish tenth. But the fall has cost him dear; with six races to go he now<BR>lags 29 points behind Rossi.<BR><BR>Biaggi had ridden a perfect weekend until that fateful moment on lap 13, taking pole with the fastest-ever official Brno lap and leading from lap two. Both men were riding the outer limits in stifling 34-degree heat, lapping within the track record. Indeed today's race time was an astounding<BR>30 seconds quicker than last year, and Biaggi's time was still faster than his winning 2000 ride!<BR><BR>"At least I managed to get the bike going to score a few points," said Biaggi, who had won six of his previous seven races here. "But it's a real<BR>shame because this race could've been so good for us. I was pushing really hard and just lost the front, even though I hadn't had any earlier warnings. It's the kind of thing that can happen when you're riding on the limit. I didn't have any tactics, other than trying to run my own race because passing isn't always easy if you give up the lead. There's still six races to go, so we've got to keep looking ahead and get back up front."<BR><BR>CHECA TAKES SEVENTH<BR><BR>Like teammate Max Biaggi, Carlos Checa had strong hopes of a good finish today. The Marlboro Yamaha Team man had run well during qualifying but a<BR>minor change to the performance of his YZR500 caused him problems during the race.<BR><BR>"As usual we changed some engine parts for the race and the engine was sharper than usual at the bottom of the rev range," said Checa who finished<BR>seventh after spending the early stages in an entertaining race for fifth. "It wasn't as soft as it usually is when I started to get on the throttle, which meant I couldn't slide the rear smoothly. The tyre would slide and then start chattering, so all I could do was wait until the bike was almost upright before I got on the throttle, and that's not a fast way to ride."<BR><BR>ROSSI WINS TO EXTEND SERIES LEAD<BR><BR>Valentino Rossi scored one of the most important wins of his career today, taking the lead for the first time when Max Biaggi crashed. From then on the Italian was untroubled out front, allowing him to take a comfortable sixth win of the year. "That was very difficult because Biaggi was pushing so hard, I was planning to wait for the last four or five laps," said Rossi. "My only worry after his crash was when a bee flew into my helmet, luckily it didn't sting me!"<BR><BR>CRIVILLE BOUNCES BACK<BR><BR>The midseason break did Alex Criville (Honda) more good than most. The former 500 king, whose season hit rock bottom at July's German GP where he failed to start after two high-speed falls, was brilliant today, beating Loris Capirossi (Honda) for second in a thrilling final-lap duel. "After Germany I never imagined this," said the 31-year-old. "I had a good rest after that that and I think I've showed I'm not old, a little bit maybe, but not too old to run up front."<BR><BR><BR> <BR><BR>Team Suzuki's press release:<BR> <BR>GIBERNAU TAKES TOP TEN FINISH AT BRNO<BR>Round Ten, World Grand Prix, Race Result, Czech GP, Brno, Sunday, August 26.<BR><BR>Team Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki rider Sete Gibernau claimed another top-10 finish in today's Czech Republic GP at Brno, moving up one place in the World Championship order after placing eighth in a blazing hot race, watched by a crowd of 45,000 sun baked fans.<BR><BR>The day brought disappointment for World Champion Kenny Roberts, who led the opening two laps after a superb start from the second row. He was sixth on lap 14 of 22, only 11 seconds behind the leaders, but pulled in to the pits to retire on the next lap.<BR><BR>Kenny had qualified sixth, and Gibernau tenth for the race, the tenth round of the championship and the first round after the long summer break. Both riders were using the revived pre-close-firing-order engine tested during the summer, and had switched to the latest 16.5-inch rear tyre for the race.<BR><BR>Roberts started well, but as the race wore on he lost position, and pulled into the pits to retire after 15 of 22 laps. Although there was no particular machine problem, he was frustrated by the prospect of a further deterioration in his position.<BR><BR>Sete was tenth at the end of the first lap, and fought hard to keep his place in a close pack of factory bikes. He gained two places by the misfortunes of other riders, but was disappointed after the finish, after having been fastest in the morning warm-up.<BR><BR>"I think we did all we could manage," said Gibernau. "We demonstrated that we're capable of being in the leading group, but at the moment we don't have the material to be there at the end of the race. Compared with last year I was 28 seconds faster than Kenny was on basically the same bike, when he finished fourth. My race time today would have won last year by 15 seconds! I wanted to finish the race today, but it is frustrating not to have the option of trying to win."<BR><BR>Team Manager Garry Taylor said: "It seems Kenny was unhappy with the engine, and we must investigate the situation carefully. Clearly the machine has potential, which Kenny proved by leading the early laps, and holding a strong position for most of the first half of the race. Then he started to drop back, as we have seen before.<BR><BR>"We can understand Kenny's frustration, but the whole team is disappointed that he gave up today while holding a top-10 position."<BR><BR>The race was won by points leader Valentino Rossi, after early leader Max Biaggi crashed out. Rossi's time was 30 seconds faster than last year's winning time.<BR><BR><BR><BR>Proton Team KR's Press Release:<BR><BR> <BR>BITTER GALL AS CHATTER PROBLEMS SPOIL PROTON'S BIG DAY <BR> <BR>Czech Republic GP - Round Ten Sunday August 26, 2001 <BR><BR>Jurgen van den Goorbergh - Did Not Finish <BR><BR>Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh retired from today's Czech Republic GP at the Brno circuit, bitterly disappointed after his first front-row start of the season turned to dust with a rare chatter problem that meant he dropped from fifth on the first lap to 12th on the second, quite unable to exploit the potential shown throughout practice by the latest version of the three-cylinder lightweight KR3. <BR><BR>He had dropped to 16th, out of the points, on the seventh of 22 laps, and pulled into the pits next time round. <BR><BR>Jurgen was racing with the new Big Bang version of the V3, which had proved a major improvement, and allowed him to challenge for pole position. He was confident of a strong race, and ready to make the most of his chances. Instead, serious front-wheel chatter struck from the very first corner, and though he tried to overcome the problem, there was no solution. <BR><BR>Both team and rider were bitterly disappointed at the consequences of a problem that seemed quite out of their control, after a summer break in which intensive work had seen the machine closer than ever to full competitive potential. <BR> <BR><BR>JURGEN VAN DEN GOORBERGH <BR><BR>" I had some problem with the front end - it felt to me like a tyre problem - that struck from the first corner. It's only happened to me two or three times before in my racing career - and it had to happen again today, when I was on the front row of the grid and sure I could achieve my best result so far. From the first corner, the front was bouncing around. I tried different corner lines and techniques, but nothing made any difference. The front wheel was coming right off the ground as I pitched it in. Corner entry is the strongest point of my riding technique and one of the bike's best points ... and I couldn't use it at all. There was no way I could hold the front, and I was just going backwards. There was a big chance it might cause me to crash, and very little chance of finishing even in the points - so I decided to retire. It's so disappointing". <BR> <BR><BR>CHUCK AKSLAND - Team Manager <BR><BR>"Jurgen got an excellent start and had a good first half-lap - but we can see from the telemetry that the chatter started from the first corner. The front end was bouncing so bad that the bike was simply not fit to race. We're working now to try to find out if it was a tyre or a suspension problem. This week the team was really prepared. They all did a lot of work and we deserved a good result. Then something that seems out of our control meant we couldn't even finish. That's the way it goes sometimes in racing".<BR><BR><BR><BR>Yamaha Racing's press release:<BR><BR>Biaggi: down but not out<BR><BR>After the perfect start to the Brno MotoGP, held on August 26, polesitter Max Biaggi lost the front of his Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR500 on lap 12 handing the race lead and win to Valentino Rossi (Honda). The Roman Emperor had produced one of his typically faultless opening few laps to take the race lead - on lap two - from Kenny Roberts (Suzuki), while Norick Abe (Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin) leapt from 11th on the grid to third. Biaggi then put his head down to build an all-important buffer over the competition but couldn't shake the hard-charging Rossi so he settled into a rhythm and protected his lead position.<BR><BR>After the crash Biaggi's determination saw him remount to finish the day tenth and salvage six valuable points. He still holds second place in the championship, but the gap has increased from 10 to 29 championship points.<BR><BR>Abe was another Yamaha rider who looked set to score a podium finish, running third until Max's fall when, but then the Japanese lost two places in the final few laps to second placed man Alex Criville (Honda) and Loris Capirossi (Honda) - finishing fourth.<BR><BR>Fifth placed starter Garry McCoy (Red Bull Yamaha WCM) recovered from a bad start, where he completed the opening lap as far back as tenth, to cross the line for the final time in sixth position - three seconds ahead of Carlos Checa (Marlboro Yamaha Team).<BR><BR>Shinya Nakano (Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3) opted to sit out the race after a highside in the Friday morning free practice left him with a fracture in his right hand - the fourth metacarpal. He attempted to take to the track on a number of occasions, including a handfull of laps to qualify during the second session, but the swelling and pain proved just too great.<BR><BR>Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin Norick Abe 4th: "It wasn't such a bad race at the beginning. I made an exceptional start that surprised even me, which really made up for not such a good qualifying position. I took a gamble with a very soft rear tyre and I still think it worked well for me even considering I lost those two places in the last few laps. Sure the tyre was spinning up, but I don't think it was much more than anyone else. I think my problem today, like in Germany, was in my riding style.<BR><BR>"If someone is in front of me, if I have a target then it's no problem to do a fast lap, even faster than them, but for some reason when I get out on my own I struggle. It's something I have to fix, it's something only I can fix."<BR><BR>José Luis Cardoso 13th: "It was not so bad considering the trouble we had in qualifying. We never really found what I consider to be the perfect set-up here and that made it hard. I know the team is good and so is the bike but I need to be able to set it up faster during the first two days."<BR><BR>Red Bull Yamaha WCM Garry McCoy 6th: "I feel fine, fitness wise, which is a good thing for the rest of the year. My problem was that got boxed in at the start, quite badly. Before I knew it I'd gone from fifth to tenth or something. No one gave an inch. In fact I hit the back of Barros because I had nowhere to go.<BR><BR>"It wasn't long before the rear tyre started to slide around quite a bit, maybe the temperature was higher than this morning, or maybe it was because I abused them a bit trying to make up some ground. The result isn't great but at least I didn't chuck it down the road - but considering our qualifying performance I should have done better."<BR><BR>Noriyuki Haga 11th: "Still the bike is not perfect, but the team put in a great effort. The chatter is what is holding us back, and though we got rid of most of it it's still there. It means the feeling from the front isn't what I'd want it to be and that makes it hard to be fast.<BR><BR>"But we finished today, and that is always good. I haven't had much of a break and we get straight into testing here on Tuesday, but we need to find that base setting that will work for me. I'm also testing some new Michelin tyres."<BR><BR>Marlboro Yamaha Team<BR>Carlos Checa 7th: "We changed some engine parts for the race and the engine was sharper than usual at the bottom of the rev range. It wasn't as soft as it usually is when I started to get on the throttle, which meant I couldn't slide the rear smoothly. The tyre would slide and then start chattering, so all I could do was wait until the bike was almost upright before I got on the throttle, and that's not a fast way to ride."<BR><BR>Max Biaggi 10th: "At least I managed to get the bike going to score a few points. But it's a real shame because this race could've been so good for us. I was pushing really hard and just lost the front, even though I hadn't had any earlier warnings. It's the kind of thing that can happen when you're riding on the limit. I didn't have any tactics, other than trying to run my own race because passing isn't always easy if you give up the lead. There're still six races to go, so we've got to keep looking ahead and get back up front."<BR><BR>Gauloises Yamaha Tech 3 Olivier Jacque 12th: "Immediately after the start of the race there was something with the engine, it didn't seem to be producing the power it normally does. It almost felt like it was running on three cylinders or something. I was concerned it could cause me some big problems if it got worse so I rode a little on the cautious side. We're still not sure what it was.<BR><BR>"This morning we had a very good package, but we thought we could improve the chassis a little bit more, but unfortunately we went in the wrong direction. The combination of the two things made it hard to ride 100 percent."<BR><BR>Shinya Nakano DNS: "My hand was just too painful this morning, I didn't even go out in the warm-up, there was no point. I'm going to spend the next week or so with a physiotherapist and see how it is when I get to Estoril. Until then I don't know."