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Oct 21, 2001

Kurtis Roberts Crashes Out On Third Lap Of Malaysian 500cc GP

From a press release issued by Team Proton KR:<BR><BR>Round 15: Malaysian GP, Sepang<BR>Race Report: Sunday, October 21, 2001 <BR><BR>Jurgen van den Goorbergh: Did Not Start <BR>Kurtis Roberts: Did Not Finish <BR><BR>Proton Team KR ended a bad weekend early at today's Malaysian GP, when Kurtis Roberts crashed out of his first ever 500-class GP on the third of 21 laps of the 5.548km Sepang circuit. <BR><BR>Regular rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh had already withdrawn from the race on medical advice, after suffering concussion in a crash in the final qualifying session the day before. <BR><BR>Kurtis's race crash came when the American rider was lying in 18th place, getting settled to start working on improving his position. Entering the track's first corner for the third time, the front wheel tucked under, and he fell without injury. <BR><BR>The race was won by new 500cc World Champion Valentino Rossi. <BR><BR>There is one GP remaining - at Rio de Janeiro in two weeks - before the end of the 2001 season, the last in the classic 500cc class. From next year, the premier category will be open also to 990cc four-strokes. <BR> <BR><BR>KURTIS ROBERTS <BR><BR>"Everything seemed good for the first one-and-a-half laps, then I had some problem shifting and I went into Turn Four in too high a gear. That meant I lost touch with Aoki and Cardoso on one of the V4s. I was going fine again, and I went into Turn One the same way and the same speed I have all weekend, or maybe one or two km/h faster than the lap before, when the front tucked. If you do the same thing, then the bike should behave the same way, but it didn't. It's down to a lack of set-up time. It could be a little because of the full tank, but it's more that we just didn't have a chance to get the bike right for me. I use a lot of front anyway, and this time it let go". <BR><BR>KENNY ROBERTS - Team Owner <BR>"He pushed the front, and that was the end of that. The reason is that we threw the whole thing together at the last moment, and we were really short of set-up time for various reasons, including the weather. We came here unprepared, and we're leaving unprepared. You have to expect these things under those 500 now, and he knows a bit more about it; and at circumstances. At least Kurtis has ridden a GP least Jurgen got away without any serious injuries after a heavy crash". <BR><BR><BR><BR>More on the Malaysian Grand Prix, from a Marlboro Yamaha press release:<BR><BR>MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX, SEPANG<BR>Race Day, Sunday, October 21, 2001<BR><BR>A DIFFICULT DAY FOR THE MARLBORO YAMAHA MEN<BR><BR>Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa had another torrid day at stifling hot Sepang today, Biaggi crashing out and Checa coming home tenth in the penultimate round of the 2001 World Championship. The difficult conditions claimed a number of victims, while the race was won by recently crowned champ Valentino Rossi (Honda).<BR><BR>"It's been a totally frustrating and disappointing day," said Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust. "We did a lot of testing here last winter but that didn't give us any advantage. Max's crash was one of those racing incidents, but it must've been very disappointing for him. We never quite got a set-up with Carlos, he had chatter all weekend. Now we've got a week to clear our heads before Rio, where our main goal will be to help Max keep hold of second place in the World Championship."<BR><BR>BIAGGI TUMBLES OUT<BR>Max Biaggi was battling hard in the leading bunch when he tumbled out on lap four while trying to make a move on 2000 World Champion Kenny Roberts<BR>(Suzuki). The Marlboro Yamaha Team man ran up the inside of the American, making contact with the RGV and sending them both to the ground. Never one to give in easily, Biaggi tried to restart but his YZR had lost a handlebar.<BR><BR>"I was coming through a little too fast," explained Biaggi, who had qualified third fastest for this race. "Kenny was going for his line and I ran into him. There's not much else to say except I'd like to give my apologies to Kenny."<BR><BR>Neither rider was hurt in the incident and Biaggi will travel to Brazil next week to battle for second overall in this year's World Championship.<BR><BR>CHECA TAKES TENTH<BR>Carlos Checa ended a difficult weekend at Sepang with a dogged tenth-place finish aboard his Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR500. The Spaniard had struggled to find a set-up throughout the two days of practice, his efforts not helped by early morning rain on both days, which effectively wiped out Friday's and Saturday's morning sessions. Starting from the fourth row, Checa ended the first lap in tenth place, slipped to 12th and spent the later stages of the race back in tenth.<BR><BR>"I got a good start, that's all I could do," he said. "The bike was chattering and if it wasn't chattering it was jumping around. The problems would start every time I flicked into a turn and laid the bike on its side. We tried everything to try and get around the problem and it's hard to know what was wrong, perhaps the chatter was something to do with the engine spec we were running, I just don't know. It's been a frustrating weekend."<BR><BR>ROSSI WINS TENTH GP<BR>One week after securing his first 500 World Championship, Valentino Rossi took his tenth win of the year in typically emphatic style, after an entertaining early stages tussle with Loris Capirossi (Honda) and Garry McCoy (Yamaha). "I've had bad luck here on both the 250 and 500, so I wanted to win," said the Italian. "I missed second gear away from the start, so the first lap was a nightmare. When I arrived behind Loris and Garry, it was hard to race with Garry because his style is so different, then I got ahead and put in four laps at a good rhythm. But the end was still tough, because the heat makes the tyres slide around so much, that's just the way you have to ride here."<BR><BR>CAPIROSSI SECOND<BR>Loris Capirossi took a strong second, just in front of Yamaha riders Garry McCoy and Shinya Nakano, to close to within four points of Max Biaggi with one race to go. "This was a very important race for me," said Capirossi who hit the front for a while on lap three. "I pushed very hard to get away but it was impossible because Valentino and Garry were riding so hard. I'm happy with second though."<BR><BR>RESULTS<BR>1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA 44:46.652<BR>2. Loris Capirossi (ITA) West HONDA Pons +3.551<BR>3. Garry McCoy (AUS) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM +4.722<BR>4. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Gauloises YAMAHA Tech 3 +5.005<BR>5. Tohru Ukawa (JPN) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +8.807<BR>6. Alex Criville (SPA) Repsol YPF HONDA Team +12.192<BR>7. Alex Barros (BRA) West HONDA Pons +15.682<BR>8. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI +18.772<BR>9. Noriyuki Haga (JPN) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM +27.012<BR>10. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team +28.829<BR>DNF - MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team<BR><BR>CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS<BR>1. Valentino Rossi 300<BR>2. MAX BIAGGI 203<BR>3. Loris Capirossi 199<BR>4. Alex Barros 169<BR>5. Shinya Nakano 148<BR>6. Norick Abe 127<BR>7. CARLOS CHECA 117<BR>8. Sete Gibernau 115<BR>9. Alex Criville 111<BR>10. Tohru Ukawa 107<BR><BR><BR>And now a press release from Team Suzuki:<BR><BR> <BR>KENNY SKITTLED, SETE IN TOP 10 IN MALAYSIA<BR><BR>World Grand Prix, Round 15, Race Result, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, October 21.<BR><BR>Team Telefónica MoviStar Suzuki rider Sete Gibernau was eighth in today's Malaysian GP, claiming the position in spite of mysterious electrical problems that had mechanics still working on his bike on the starting grid.<BR><BR>Team-mate Kenny Roberts, however, had his hopes of a rostrum finish at a track where he has won the last two races dashed when he was knocked off on only the fourth of 21 laps of the 5.548km Sepang circuit close to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Roberts had led the first two laps, and was fighting to maintain his position, moving to re-pass eventual winner Valentino Rossi, when he was hit from behind by Max Biaggi, and knocked flying. Although not seriously hurt, the 2000 World Champion suffered bangs, bruises and pulled muscles, and left the track to return home to the USA, to begin treatment so he can be fit again for the next race, the Rio GP in two weeks.<BR><BR>Gibernau's race - his whole day - was packed with drama. In the morning warm-up, his bike developed a mysterious electrical problem that cut his session short. The team changed the ignition, but the problem struck again on the sighting lap, and mechanics worked frantically to replace the ignition once again on the starting line. The bike ran without further problems for full race distance, while Sete found himself engaged in fierce fighting from the first lap to the last. Thirteenth at the end of lap one, he made it as high as sixth in the middle stages of the race, trading places back and forth with rival factory riders until the finish.<BR><BR>The Malaysian GP was the 15th of 16 championship rounds, and the second-last race ever in the classic 500 class, to be replaced next year with a mixed formula which opens the premier GP class to 990cc four-strokes as well.<BR><BR>SETE GIBERNAU - Eighth Place<BR><BR>"After all the drama and replacing parts on the grid, the bike wasn't great, and I also made some mistakes with the chassis - I could have had it set up better. I got a bad start, but I was able to make up some places. After that, I just rode it as hard as I could. I was almost crashing all the time, making up for the speed I was losing on the straights. I think I was on the floor four or five times, but somehow managed to get up again. I guess today just wasn't meant to be our day."<BR><BR>KENNY ROBERTS - Did Not Finish<BR><BR>"That was really disappointing. That was the most comfortable I've been with the bike and the tyres for a long while, and I wasn't having any trouble with the pace. I believe I could have had a top-three rostrum finish. I led the first couple of laps, and when I got knocked off, Rossi had just passed me. He got into the turn a bit hot, and I squared it off, thinking I could get back underneath him again. But Max also got in a bit hot, and he couldn't do anything to avoid hitting me. I was in the right place, but at the wrong time. I've pulled a couple of muscles in my elbow, but hopefully I can be fit for the next race."<BR><BR>GARRY TAYLOR - Team Manager<BR><BR>"Sete did extremely well to keep his concentration after a recurrence of the electrical problem that cut short his warm-up in the morning. He rode aggressively, stayed in touch with the others, and did what he could with what he had. Kenny made a magnificent start, and appeared quite comfortable running with the leaders. The crash happened as he went to go inside Rossi, who ran a bit wide. Both guys rode their hearts out today, and got little or nothing in return. That makes it hard for everyone."<BR><BR>SUNDAY RACE SEPANG, MALAYSIA: 1. V. Rossi (Honda) 44'46.652, 2. L. Capirossi (Honda) + 3.551, 3. G. McCoy (Yamaha) + 4.722, 4. S. Nakano (Yamaha) + 5.005, 5. T. Ukawa (Honda) + 8.807, 6. A. Criville (Honda) + 12.192, 7. A. Barros (Honda) + 15,682, 8. SETE GIBERNAU (TELEFONICA MOVISTAR SUZUKI) + 18.772, 9. N. Haga (Yamaha) + 27.012, 10. C. Checa (Yamaha) + 28.829, DNF. KENNY ROBERTS (TELEFONICA MOVISTAR SUZUKI) <BR><BR>CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS after the 15th round of 16: 1 - V. Rossi 300, 2 - M. Biaggi 203, 3 - L Capirossi 199, 4 - A. Barros 169, 5 - S. Nakano 148, 6 - N. Abe 127, 7- C. Checa 117, 8 - S. Gibernau 115, 9 - A. Criville 111, 10 - T. Ukawa 107, 11 - K. Roberts 97.<BR> <BR><BR><BR><BR>250cc Results<BR>1. Daijiro Katoh, Japan, Honda, 43:22.487<BR>2. Tetsuya Harada, Japan, Aprilia, -14.893 seconds<BR>3. Fonsi Nieto, Spain, Aprilia, -15.892<BR>4. Roberto Locatelli, Italy, Aprilia -19.748<BR>5. Jeremy McWilliams, Great Britain, Aprilia, -35.867<BR>6. Franco Battaini, Italy, Aprilia, -46.364<BR>7. Naoki Matsudo, Japan, Yamaha, -46.408<BR>8. Alex Hofmann, Germany, Aprilia, -46.731<BR>9. Sylvain Guintoli, Aprilia, -56.513<BR>10. Roberto Rolfo, Italy, Aprilia, -58.914<BR>DNF, Katja Poensgen, Germany, Honda, DNF, crashed, -11 laps<BR><BR><BR>125cc Results, 19 laps<BR>1. Youichi Ui, Japan, Derbi, 43.21.269<BR>2. Manuel Poggiali, San Marino, Gilera, -2.078 seconds<BR>3. Lucio Cecchinello, Italy, Aprilia, -2.196<BR>4. Daniel Perdrosa, Spain, Honda, -3.161<BR>5. Gino Borsoi, Italy, Aprilia, -3.987<BR>6. Toni Elias, Spain, Honda, -4.265<BR>7. Arnaud Vincent, France, Honda, -4.468<BR>8. Masao Azuma, Japan, Honda, -5.123<BR>9. Mirko Giansanti, Italy, Honda, -30.026<BR>10. Max Sabbattani, Italy, Aprilia, -30.292<BR>