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Jun 1, 2002

Rossi Takes Fifth MotoGP Pole Position Of The Season At Mugello, Roberts 10th, Hopkins 13th After Crash

<BR>Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Saturday MotoGP Qualifying Results:<BR><BR>1. Valentino Rossi, Honda RC211V, 1:51.258<BR>2. Max Biaggi, Yamaha YZR-M1, 1:51.837<BR>3. Carlos Checa, Yamaha YZR-M1, 1:52.977<BR>4. Loris Capirossi, Honda NSR500, 1:52.107<BR>5. Regis Laconi, Aprilia RS3, 1:52.237<BR>6. Olivier Jacque, Yamaha YZR500, 1:52.237<BR>7. Tohru Ukawa, Honda RC211V, 1:52.434<BR>8. Tetsuya Harada, Honda NSR500, 1:52.532<BR>9. Alex Barros, Honda NSR500, 1:52.630<BR>10. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki GSV-R, 1:52.656<BR>11. Nobuatsu Aoki, Proton KR3, 1:52.740<BR>12. Jeremy McWilliams, Proton KR3, 1:52.751<BR>13. John Hopkins, Yamaha YZR500, 1:52.923<BR>14. Shinya Nakano, Yamaha YZR500, 1:52.990<BR>15. Jurgen vd Goorbergh, Honda NSR500, 1:53.40<BR>16. Daijiro Kato, Honda NSR500, 1:53.120<BR>17. Jean Michel Bayle, Yamaha YZR500, 1:53.440<BR>18. Sete Gibernau, Suzuki GSV-R, 1:53.566<BR>19. Norick Abe, Yamaha YZR500, 1:53.828<BR>20. Pere Riba, Yamaha YZR500, 1:54.882<BR><BR><BR>MotoGP Combined Qualifying Results:<BR><BR>1. Valentino Rossi, Honda RC211V, 1:51.258<BR>2. Max Biaggi, Yamaha YZR-M1, 1:51.837<BR>3. Carlos Checa, Yamaha YZR-M1, 1:52.086<BR>4. Loris Capirossi, Honda NSR500, 1:52.107<BR>5. Regis Laconi, Aprilia RS3, 1:52.237<BR>6. Olivier Jacque, Yamaha YZR500, 1:52.237<BR>7. Tohru Ukawa, Honda RC211V, 1:52.434<BR>8. Tetsuya Harada, Honda NSR500, 1:52.532<BR>9. Alex Barros, Honda NSR500, 1:52.630<BR>10. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki GSV-R, 1:52.656<BR>11. Nobuatsu Aoki, Proton KR3, 1:52.740<BR>12. Jeremy McWilliams, Proton KR3, 1:52.751<BR>13. John Hopkins, Yamaha YZR500, 1:52.923<BR>14. Shinya Nakano, Yamaha YZR500, 1:52.990<BR>15. Jurgen vd Goorbergh, Honda NSR500, 1:53.40<BR>16. Daijiro Kato, Honda NSR500, 1:53.120<BR>17. Jean Michel Bayle, Yamaha YZR500, 1:53.440<BR>18. Sete Gibernau, Suzuki GSV-R, 1:53.493<BR>19. Norick Abe, Yamaha YZR500, 1:53.765<BR>20. Pere Riba, Yamaha YZR500, 1:54.882<BR><BR><BR>More, from a Red Bull Yamaha press release:<BR><BR>HOPKINS ACHIEVES HIS BEST GRID POSITION AT MUGELLO<BR><BR><BR>Red Bull Yamaha riders John Hopkins and Jean-Michel Bayle both improved their times in this afternoon's qualifying session. Hopkins improved by 0.427 seconds and has placed himself on the inside of the 4th row, his highest grid position in his short but outstanding Moto GP racing career. Hopkins has scored points in every single GP so far this season and aims to finish the Italian GP in the Top 10. Jean-Michel Bayle, the team's Test Rider for 2002 who is the replacement rider for the injured Garry McCoy, clocked a time 0.699 seconds faster than his Friday session.<BR><BR><BR>JOHN HOPKINS - 13th at 1:52.923<BR><BR>"I feel okay after the crash but I am really pissed off over the entire crash situation. The bike just slid, and I stayed with it, holding the same body position all the way. I jumped onto my second bike soon as I got back into the garage and ended up doing a better time on it. I tried really hard not to think about what happened in the lap when I crashed, I just focused on going faster. I have set my sights on a Top 10 finish in the race and I will be trying my best to race with the pack on the second row."<BR><BR><BR>Colin Davies - Race Engineer for John Hopkins<BR><BR>"John is more comfortable on his number one bike that he crashed early in the qualifying session even though he did set his best time on the second bike this afternoon. We tried a couple of different tyres thoroughout that session and we have made our decision on what tyres to race with. Tonight we will repair the bike from John's crash today. We don't have to change the frame because we have already checked it and it is straight."<BR><BR><BR>JEAN-MICHEL BAYLE - 17th at 1:53.440<BR><BR>"I am happy with today, the bike felt really good both this morning and this afternoon, I improved on my time from yesterday so this is good. I have found a race tyre for tomorrow and the set-up is fine. <BR><BR>"This is now my second race on the Red Bull Yamaha, I try to improve the bike and myself at each race."<BR><BR><BR>Christophe Bourguignon - Race Engineer for Jean-Michel Bayle <BR><BR>"I am really pleased with the tyre selection that Dunlop have given us this weekend and Jean-Michel did a good job to improve on his time from yesterday by 0.699 seconds. We now have a good set-up for the race tomorrow"<BR><BR><BR>Peter Clifford - Team Manager <BR><BR>"Great to see that John could bounce back from this off halfway through the session to go quicker than yesterday. It's the first time he has fallen during practice and it's important that he can shake if off and go quickly again. Jean-Michel Bayle continues his valuable role helping sort out the huge number of tyres that Dunlop are suppling us with."<BR><BR><BR>More, from an Aprilia press release:<BR><BR>President Beggio electrified by the RS Cube at Mugello today <BR><BR>Laconi 5th in the qualifying sessions, a hairsbreadth from first row.<BR><BR>The Aprilia pits were no place for the fainthearted in the closing minute of the qualifying sessions. On the last lap before the chequered flag, Régis Laconi went past the intermediate timing points with a "red helmet", the visual signal used by the official timing system to indicate on the television screens that the rider is achieving times lower that the absolute best. Another two red helmets and it would be Pole. Moments of tension. That would have been just too much. Régis, going absolutely flat out, made a slight slip on the last corner and made fifth-quickest time and thus second row. The finest result achieved by the Cube since its creation.<BR><BR>"It's been a really exciting afternoon", said a visibly satisfied President Beggio. "A great result which gives a good idea of the enormous efforts we are making to do well in this class. And yet another reason for the entire group and the entire company to open up the throttle even wider."<BR><BR># 55 Regis Laconi – (MS APRILIA RACING) – 5th - 1:52.237<BR><BR>"That last lap couldn't have been faster. You really give all you've got. It's thanks to all the work we've done over the past few days, to all the determination of the team who've given me the competitiveness I need to make a lap like that. It's also thanks to the excellent grip of the new qualifying tyre: I really risked coming off round the last corner - I came in far too fast. That's where I lost the chance to make front row tomorrow. Even so, I'm happy about today's result - the Cube's best so far. A real boost for tomorrow. Let me thank all those who're working with me. They're great!"<BR><BR><BR>More, from Proton:<BR><BR>PROTONS BLAST THE BENDS FOR THIRD-ROW THRILLER<BR><BR>Round 5: Italian GP, Mugello<BR>Final Qualifying: Saturday June 1, 2002<BR><BR>Nobuatsu Aoki: 11th, 1:53.539<BR>Jeremy McWilliams: 12th, 1:53.510<BR><BR>Proton Team KR riders Nobuatso Aoki and Jeremy McWilliams rode a blinding final qualifying session at Mugello today to put the pair of <BR>Proton KR3 three-cylinder lightweights side by side on the third row of the starting grid for tomorrow's Italian GP.<BR><BR>Lap times that would have challenged for pole position last year, before the arrival of the 990cc four-strokes, prove the strength of the latest version of the Proton triple, at a track where one of the longest straights of the year saw the fastest four-strokes top 200mph in this <BR>afternoon's warm and sunny session.<BR><BR>The KR3's strong performance on the fast corners made up for a speed deficit of (in Jeremy's case) more than 28km/h, underlining not only the bike's cornering abilities, but also the ever-improving performance of the new-this-year Bridgestone tyres, and the sterling efforts of both riders.<BR><BR>NOBUATSU AOKI<BR>"It seems that the chassis and suspension are working very correctly. Also the soft-compound Bridgestone tyres worked very well. Obviously <BR>they like the heat! It leaves a difficult question for the race. It's very hard to decide which front tyre to choose, just as it was at Le <BR>Mans two weeks ago. For grip, the medium-soft compound is better but I am worried about endurance. The medium will make the distance, but I am doubtful about the grip. We will have to see what the temperature and conditions are like tomorrow. I will put the decision off until just <BR>before the race."<BR><BR>JEREMY McWILLIAMS<BR>"That's the fastest I've ever been round this track - last year I'd have been thinking about pole position. The qualifying tyres are really <BR>super. Unfortunately I messed up my last lap - outbraking myself into the corner after Arrabiata, with the back wheel five feet in the air. My next-best lap was done alone, without any slipstream. We have a pretty good race set-up, but tyre endurance is always the question. We did some endurance testing this morning, but the temperature wasn't high enough to be conclusive. It looks like I'll stay with the medium rear. That gives the lap times, but tails off a bit after five or six laps. The harder tyre is more than a second slower, so it makes no sense to go <BR>with that."<BR><BR>KENNY ROBERTS - Team Owner<BR>"Considering how much slower we are down the straight, both riders did an excellent job. They're obviously making up a lot of time somewhere else. I'm looking forward to our four-stroke ... having an extra 30km/h wouldn't hurt us. We have the bike pretty good now. It has to be good. Considering what we're up against, we're doing extremely well."