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May 3, 2002

Rossi Takes Provisional Pole For MotoGP Gran Premio Marlboro De Espana At Jerez

<BR>Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Friday's MotoGP Qualifying Times:<BR><BR>1. Valentino Rossi, Honda RC211V, 1:42.736<BR>2. Daijiro Katoh, Honda NSR500, 1:43.075<BR>3. Tohru Ukawa, Honda RC211V, 1:43.519<BR>4. Alex Barros, Honda NSR500, 1:43.843<BR>5. Loris Capirossi, Honda NSR500, 1:44.216<BR>6. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki GSV-R, 1:44.295<BR>7. Olivier Jacque, Yamaha YZR500, 1:44.391<BR>8. Sete Gibernau, Suzuki GSV-R, 1:44.486<BR>9. Shinya Nakano, Yamaha YZR500, 1:44.503<BR>10. Norick Abe, Yamaha YZR500, 1:44.507<BR>11. Max Biaggi, Yamaha YZR-M1, 1:44.689<BR>12. Carlos Checa, Yamaha YZR-M1, 1:44.811<BR>13. Jeremy McWilliams, Proton KR3, 1:45.121<BR>14. Garry McCoy, Yamaha YZR500, 1:45.398<BR>15. Nobuatsu Aoki, Proton KR3, 1:45.528<BR>16. Tetsuya Harada, Honda NSR500, 1:45.785<BR>17. Jurgen vd Goorbergh, Honda NSR500, 1:46.111<BR>18. Regis Laconi, Aprilia RS3, 1:46.216<BR>19. John Hopkins, Yamaha YZR500, 1:46.221<BR>20. Pere Riba, Yamaha YZR500, 1:46.630<BR><BR>Friday morning MotoGP practice times from Jerez:<BR>1. Rossi, 1:44.787<BR>2. Katoh, 1:45.534<BR>3. Ukawa, 1:45.669<BR>4. Abe, 1:45.798<BR>5. Barros, 1:45.929<BR>6. Checa, 1:46.069<BR>7. McWilliams, 1:46.633<BR>8. McCoy, 1:46.661<BR>9. Aoki, 1:46.817<BR>10. Roberts, 1:46.846<BR>11. Nakano, 1:46.894<BR>12. Jacque, 1:46.999<BR>13. Laconi, 1:47.164<BR>14. Gibernau, 1:47.217<BR>15. Hopkins, 1:47.352<BR>16. Harada, 1:47.380<BR>17. Capirossi, 1:47.758<BR>18. Goorbergh, 1:47.773<BR>19. Biaggi, 1:47.922<BR>20. Riba, 1:48.322<BR><BR><BR>More, from Red Bull Yamaha:<BR><BR>SPANISH GRAND PRIX - JEREZ<BR>FRIDAY 3RD MAY<BR>QUALIFYING PRACTICE NO. 1<BR><BR>GARRY McCOY- 14TH - 1:45.398<BR><BR>"I'm finding the track slippery and the conditions are very dusty. We're working on the tyre and chassis set up to find what will give me grip. For me it also seemed a bit windy in that session and I'm still having trouble in the right handers because of my leg but I'm feeling okay."<BR><BR><BR>JOHN HOPKINS ­ 19TH - 1:46.221<BR><BR>"This is my first time at this track and I'm trying to find my limits on how hard to push. The track here is so much smoother than South Africa but the dust here is a problem. The track is really dusty and I don't want to risk<BR>running wide in these conditions. I'm keeping it on line as it's loose out there. <BR><BR>"Still I'm looking okay and we have some fine tuning to do before tomorrow. We're up in the air on tyre choice at the moment and we have a few more suspension adjustments to make".<BR><BR><BR><BR>More, from Suzuki:<BR><BR>Team Suzuki News Service<BR><BR>RESHOD SUZUKIS GO STRAIGHT INTO THE TOP 10<BR><BR>Jerez de la Frontera, Spain – Friday, May 3: <BR><BR>TEAM Telefónica MoviStar Suzuki riders Kenny Roberts Jr and Sete Gibernau were sixth and eighth in today's first qualifying session for Sunday's Spanish GP – an excellent result in their first time out on Michelin tyres this season.<BR><BR>The team switched from the still-developing Dunlop tyres to the established Michelins after its new GSV-R four-stroke proved more competitive than expected at the early rounds. This changed the target from a year of machine and tyre development to a decision to work directly towards race results.<BR><BR>Today was the first run on the well-established French tyres for the blue baritone Suzuki four-strokes … and the results were promising, to say the least. Not only were both bikes in the top 10, but they were the first four-strokes apart from the pair of Hondas which finished first and second at the previous race.<BR><BR>This was in spite of having taken a step backwards to go forwards. Previous development data gained with the Dunlop tyres is no longer relevant, and in a sense the team and riders are making a fresh start. The situation is made more complex by a new surface on the circuit, where extensive building work is still in progress. The level of grip is improving almost lap by lap, as the dust clears and rubber builds up on the racing line … giving engineers a moving target as they optimise machine settings for the new tyres.<BR><BR>There is one more day of qualifying before Sunday's race, the third of 16 rounds in the championship, and the first of the summer-long European season.<BR><BR>KENNY ROBERTS: Sixth Position, 1:44.295<BR>"It's all real new, and we're trying to get the bike as good as possible as quickly as possible. For the first day, the grip and consistency is good, and the bike seems to be adapting well to the change in tyres. We're able to work directly on machine set up, which makes it a lot easier. I didn't expect to be in the top six, but the position is not so important. My outlook after two non-finishes is to finish this race in the points. I'm working on getting into a rhythm, finding out where our base is, and going form there."<BR><BR>SETE GIBERNAU: Eighth Position, 1:44.486<BR>"We need to keep working in our new situation – to get used to the new tyres, and work round the bits and pieces we were doing before. For tomorrow, we need to get the bike to turn in better and to hold the line better, so I can improve corner speed and do the same or better lap times more easily. We made a lot of changes today, but we've been going forward all the time. I like the track, and I'm feeling confident."<BR><BR>WARREN WILLING: Technical Adviser<BR>"At the moment, we're just finding out where we are, and dialling the bike in to these tyres. The race-track is constantly changing as it gets cleaner … we're trying to find base settings at the same time as keeping up with the improving grip. We're finding out where we stand on chassis stiffness, balance and geometry, and we're able to focus more on the machine."<BR><BR> <BR><BR>More, from Proton:<BR><BR>PROTON RIDERS ON THE PACE IN SPAIN<BR><BR>Round 3: Spanish GP, Jerez de la Frontera First Qualifying: Friday May 3, 2002<BR><BR>Jeremy McWilliams: 13th, 1:45.121<BR>Nobuatsu Aoki: 15th, 1:45.528<BR><BR>Proton Team KR riders Jeremy McWilliams and Nobu Aoki were in the top 15 and eyeing the points after the first qualifying session for the Spanish GP, at the circuit where the team had successful first tests with the new Bridgestone tyres during the winter.<BR><BR>The track has been fully resurfaced, and extensive building alterations to the pit buildings were still in progress, leaving the surface dusty and slippery, but improving all the time as the motorcycles swept it clean and laid rubber down on the racing line. These changing conditions made it difficult to settle on machine settings.<BR><BR>Conditions for the first day of the European season were warm and sunny, and both riders made progress, slashing lap times from morning to afternoon. For McWilliams, however, the dry conditions triggered a bout of hayfever that left him below his best.<BR><BR>There is one more day of practice for Sunday's GP, the first European round of the new MotoGP world championship that pits 990cc four-strokes against the established 500cc two-strokes like the Proton KR3. Defending champion Valentino Rossi (Honda four-stroke) claimed provisional pole position.<BR><BR><BR>JEREMY McWILLIAMS<BR>"Everything's going to plan – though I missed out on the last five minutes of practice because of a minor problem with a tyre we'd fitted. But I haven't been going for fantastic lap times – more working towards finding a good race set-up to make sure we can go well on Sunday. You have to be so aggressive at Jerez, but it's hard to find settings when the grip changes every time you go out."<BR><BR><BR>NOBUATSU AOKI<BR>"This morning I was very confident with the bike, and things were coming quite easily. In the afternoon, something changed, and I had absolutely no grip from the front tyre. It was strange. We only made a small change to the front suspension, but the feeling changed completely. I'm a little confused. I need the engineers to find the reason."<BR><BR><BR>KENNY ROBERTS – Team Owner<BR>"So far so good. The engines are running well, and we're getting through tyre testing. And we still have all day tomorrow. The problems we had in South Africa were one-offs: a little wear on Jeremy's shifter, and a split hose for Nobu that caused an oil leak. We haven't needed to make any changes."<BR><BR><BR> <BR>More, from Marlboro Yamaha:<BR><BR>MARLBORO SPANISH GRAND PRIX, JEREZ<BR>First Qualifying, Friday May 3 2002<BR><BR>DIFFICULT BUT ENLIGHTENING DAY FOR MARLBORO YAMAHA<BR>Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa had a difficult but enlightening first qualifying session at sun-blessed Jerez this afternoon, ending the day 11th and 12th quickest.<BR><BR>Their performance suggests that the Marlboro Yamaha Team has much to do to get their bikes fully on to the pace but YZR-M1 project leader Ichiro Yoda believes that both riders gained invaluable knowledge during today's track time. Yamaha are already working on a different chassis for the M1, which is planned for June.<BR><BR>"We learned a lot today, so now we know the situation and we can react as necessary," said Yoda. "It seems that this chassis has too much weight transfer, this is what we are focusing on at the moment. Both riders say that the front end goes light when they want to open the throttle, especially in fast corners, and, of course, high-speed corners are very important for a good lap time. Also, they are both losing time braking at the end of the back straight because there's too much weight transfer to the front. This wasn't a problem with the chassis we used before Suzuka, so its clear what we need to do. We've also brought some new fuel tanks here to try. Max was having a problem as the M1 tank is quite wide so we've brought two narrower units for him to try. Carlos had asked for a shorter tank so that he could transfer more weight to the front. He tried it today but it still hasn't given him the feeling he wants."<BR><BR>BIAGGI WORKS AT IMPROVEMENTS<BR>Max Biaggi ended this afternoon's opening qualifier 0.122 seconds ahead of team-mate Carlos Checa but 1.953 seconds off provisional pole position.<BR><BR>Riding as hard as ever, the Marlboro Yamaha Team rider hopes he can climb further up the order tomorrow after fine tuning his M1's settings but knows he must wait a little longer to get back up front.<BR><BR>"We've got problems, it's easy to see that from the lap times," said the Italian. "At the moment it's not easy for us to fight with the other four-strokes, and even some of the 500 two-strokes, but we're looking to get the best set-up possible, to put what we've got together as best we can. At the moment we can't expect much more because the bike is essentially the same as it was at the first two races. We're all working very hard and hopefully we can take a big step forward when we get the new chassis."<BR><BR>CHECA NEEDS MORE WEIGHT UP FRONT<BR>Local hero Carlos Checa made it into the top ten at one stage during this afternoon's session but ended the outing 12th fastest. Like team-mate Max Biaggi, the Marlboro Yamaha Team rider is doing the best he can with the M1 and working hard to give his engineers the best-possible feedback to help them make the required improvements.<BR><BR>"The main problem for me is that there's not enough front grip available when I'm at a high lean angle and trying to get on the throttle," said the Spaniard who is currently second in the World Championship after scoring third- and fifth-place finishes at the opening two GPs of the 2002 MotoGP season. "It seems that the problem is worse at this track. Getting out of a corner as quickly as possible is obviously a crucial part of getting a good lap time and I can't do that at the moment."<BR><BR>ROSSI OFF TRACK BUT STILL AHEAD<BR>Valentino Rossi (Honda) recovered from an off-track excursion to take provisional pole at Jerez today. The World Championship leader spent much of the session battling back and forth with RCV team-mate Tohru Ukawa, who beat him in South Africa two weeks ago, before upping his pace in the closing stages. "We came here testing in November so we do have some data but the new surface means that we're almost starting all over," he said. "The four-stroke is easier to ride than the 500 but it's harder to make the difference once you get to a certain level."<BR><BR>MotoGP newcomer Daijiro Kato dislodged Ukawa from second at the end of the session, his NSR500 two-stroke just 0.339 seconds off Rossi's four-stroke best. Fellow NSR rider Alex Barros was fourth.