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Sep 19, 2002

Updated Post: Biaggi Fastest In Thursday MotoGP Qualifying At Rio

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>1. Max Biaggi, Yamaha YZR-M1, 1:51.854<BR>2. Valentino Rossi, Honda RC211V, 1:51.866<BR>3. Carlos Checa, Yamaha YZR-M1, 1:51.975<BR>4. Alex Barros, Honda NSR500, 1:51.998<BR>5. Norick Abe, Yamaha YZR500, 1:52.028<BR>6. Olivier Jacque, Yamaha YZR500, 1:52.122<BR>7. Nobuatso Aoki, Proton KR, 1:52,158<BR>8. Shinya Nakano, Yamaha YZR500, 1:52.343<BR>9. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki GSV-R, 1:52.369<BR>10. Garry McCoy, Yamaha YZR500, 1:52.490<BR>11. Tohru Ukawa, Honda RC211V, 1:52.498<BR>12. Jeremy McWilliams, Proton KR, 1:52.552<BR>13. Daijiro Kato, Honda RC211V, 1:52.659<BR>14. Jurgen v.d. Goorbergh, Honda NSR500, 1:52.938<BR>15. Loris Capirossi, Honda NSR500, 1:53.016<BR>16. Tetsuya Harada, Honda NSR500, 1:53.240<BR>17. Sete Gibernau, Suzuki GSV-R, 1:53.285<BR>18. Regis Laconi, Aprilia RS3, 1:53.380<BR>19. John Hopkins, YZR500, 1:53.563<BR>20. Jose Luis Cardoso, Yamaha YZR500, 1:54.093<BR><BR><BR>More, from a press release issued by Marlboro Yamaha: <BR><BR>RIO GP, JACAREPAGUA<BR>First Qualifying, Thursday September 19 2002<BR><BR>MARLBORO YAMAHA MEN UP FRONT AT RIO<BR><BR>Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa ended today's opening qualifying session for Saturday's Rio GP first and third fastest, showcasing the M1's ever-improving speed and consistency around this complex track, one of the bumpiest and most slippery on the GP calendar. The pair have been the star performers at the past two MotoGP events - Checa taking pole position in Portugal two weeks ago, Biaggi taking pole and race victory at the previous Czech GP.<BR><BR>"Thanks to Max for trying so hard, he's a true professional," said YZR-M1 project leader Ichiro Yoda. "Carlos was also incredible today - he had two falls but kept getting faster. We have quite a normal set-up here, we're just searching for the best front-and-rear grip balance because the surface isn't so grippy. We don't have any new parts for this race, we're continuing to evolve the settings we used at Estoril, both for that race and during our tests after the race. Both riders still have one 'old' chassis and one new chassis each, because it seems that each chassis still has positive and negative points. So far here, Max prefers the old one, Carlos the new."<BR><BR><BR>BIAGGI ON PROVISIONAL POLE<BR>Max Biaggi dominated this afternoon's opening qualifying session, putting his Marlboro Yamaha Team M1 on provisional pole, just 0.012 seconds ahead of Valentino Rossi (Honda). And the Italian might have been even faster if he hadn't run straight on at the end of Rio's long back straight while he was on another hot lap with three minutes to go.<BR><BR>"It's a good feeling to be up front on day one," said Biaggi, currently chasing second overall in the 2002 MotoGP World Championship. "The track is very slippery, so it isn't easy to find good traction, it's just a case of controlling wheelspin and slides with your throttle hand. I pushed hard today and I've been very focused since the start of morning practice, thinking about how to use my favourite parts of the track to my advantage. I know I can go faster tomorrow but I also know that the other guys will be quicker. My thanks to my crew - the staff in this team are working so hard and the engineers and technicians are doing an excellent job."<BR><BR><BR>CHECA FAST DESPITE FALLS<BR>Carlos Checa slid off twice during today's two sessions but that didn't stop the ultra-determined Marlboro Yamaha Team man from going third fastest, just 0.121 seconds off provisional pole position. Checa tumbled at slow speed this morning, possibly on fluid dropped by another machine, then again after 20 minutes of this afternoon's session.<BR><BR>"We've been having some front-end push problems here," explained the Spaniard. "This morning I think there was some coolant on the track, but this afternoon I was just pushing a little too hard when things weren't exactly right. We did improve the front end but we need to work on this some more, at the moment I can do one fast lap but it's not comfortable to keep pushing for much longer than that. I'm concentrating on the new chassis because this is the direction I want to take for the future."<BR><BR><BR>ROSSI SECOND, BARROS FOURTH<BR>World Championship leader Valentino Rossi was outpaced for provisional pole today but only just. "Since this morning we've worked on the front suspension to make the bike turn better, but I still need more feeling from the front," said the Italian, winner of nine races so far this year. Local favourite Alex Barros (Honda) ended the day as top two-stroke rider in fourth place. Just 1.162 seconds covered the quickest 15 riders.<BR><BR><BR>More, from a press release issued by Red Bull Yamaha:<BR><BR><BR>RIO GRAND PRIX<BR>THURSDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER 2002 ­ Qualifying No. 1<BR><BR>GARRY McCOY showed he is close to recapturing his best form in today's opening qualifying session for the Rio GP when he qualified his Red Bull Yamaha YZR500 in 10th place.<BR><BR>The 30-year-old Australian ended the session just over half-a-second off Max Biaggi's provisional pole time as the only South American race on the MotoGP calendar got underway in searing temperatures this afternoon at the Jacarepagua circuit. Today's track temperature peaked at 45 degrees C.<BR><BR>McCoy¹s best time of 1:52.490 was one second faster than he set on the opening day of qualifying at the same circuit last season, showing his confidence is fully restored after an injury-hit campaign.<BR><BR>McCoy elevated himself up to sixth with only eight minutes of the session remaining, but in the typically frantic closing stages, he found himself relegated down the order before producing his fastest time on his last lap to leave some of the highly-fancied four-stroke machines trailing behind him.<BR><BR>Team-mate John Hopkins found himself down in 19th place on his debut appearance at the Rio track, although his best time of 1:53.563 was only 1.7s off the provisional pole. He found the notoriously bumpy circuit an added burden to trying to learn the track.<BR><BR><BR>GARRY McCOY ­ 10th 1:52.490<BR>"As usual here it is hard work because of the bumps and the heat but I've no complaints about the balance of the bike. On my final run I went out behind Norick Abe but I lost a lap hanging around waiting for him. In the end I just went for it and I had Tohru Ukawa in my sights. I was just trying to hunt him down but those four-strokes really pull away on the long straights here." <BR><BR><BR>JOHN HOPKINS ­ 19th 1:53.563<BR>"I'm just trying to learn the track. What I have learned already is that the surface is really bumpy. I'm trying to work out the best lines because I've noticed the other guys use different lines to me as they know where the bumps are. We haven't really played around with the set-up at all because it is difficult to make changes when I'm still trying to learn the circuit. We'll change the suspension settings tomorrow to try and make the bike ride the bumps better and I'm confident the times will come down."<BR><BR><BR>PETER CLIFFORD ­ DIRECTOR OF RACING<BR>"It's great to see Garry getting back to his best after all his injury problems and he's already a second faster than he was in the first qualifying session here last year. For John to be such a short distance off the pace on his first visit to such a difficult circuit is another excellent performance."<BR><BR><BR>More, from MS Aprilia:<BR><BR>Régis Laconi hampered in Rio by double fall in first day of practice. <BR><BR>Official RS Cube rider Régis Laconi went for two slides in today's practice. The first came soon after the free practice began in the morning, while the second came just minutes before the qualifying session came to end, when Régis was working to improve his fast-lap time. The two slides were very similar: lack of grip at the front and the bike down on the tarmac unable to make it up again.<BR><BR># 55 Regis Laconi – (MS APRILIA RACING) – 18th - 1'53.380<BR><BR>"In both cases, I lost grip at the front of the bike, which meant the steering got blocked. The fall in the morning was worse, because the middle finger on my left hand got caught up in the clutch and the doctor had to prevent extravasation of blood under my fingernail. Fortunately, it wasn't a real problem and in the afternoon I was ready for the qualifying, when I managed to slice three seconds off the morning's time. Then just when I was going for the fast lap at the end of the session, I went for another slide. I was behind Barros and keeping up his pace: I was pushing quite hard but then lost grip again at the front on the last corner before the home straight, right in front of the grandstands. It's a pity - I could've done better. Tomorrow I'll try out a different-sized front tyre to see if we can solve the problem."<BR><BR><BR>More, from Telefonica Movistar Suzuki:<BR><BR>ROBERTS CONFIDENT, GIBERNAU FIGHTS PAIN <BR><BR>MotoGP – Round 12, Jacarepagua, Brazil, September 19, 2002 <BR>Team Telefónica MoviStar Suzuki riders Kenny Roberts Jr. and Sete Gibernau were ninth and 17th in today's first qualifying session for Saturday's Rio GP at the bumpy 4.933km Nelson Piquet circuit outside Rio de Janeiro. <BR><BR>Roberts was confident in spite of not joining the scramble for a fast one-off lap, preferring to concentrate on race settings and general machine development with the new Suzuki slipper clutch, introduced one race ago. The clutch changed the whole feel of the machine and required a fresh start to engine and chassis settings, he said – but progress is fast and the overall improvement promised big dividends in the future. <BR><BR>Gibernau was nursing a painful collarbone injury, sustained less than two weeks ago when he crashed out while leading the Portuguese GP. He also suffered engine trouble with one of his two machines, limiting his opportunities to try different settings. But he too was confident of improving further, with one more day of practice remaining. <BR><BR>KENNY ROBERTS – Ninth Position, 1:52.369 <BR><BR>"The new clutch is a big improvement, and every time I ride the bike I seem to understand more about how it can help us; It's almost like starting over. We seem to be taking a tentative approach, that's the way it is right now. Today, we've been taking idle out of the bike, that we had to run with the old clutch. I was spending quite a long time out there, running hard tyres, then changing settings, and I think we've made good headway in rideability. But we're still learning how we need to make the clutch work, and how we need the engine to respond to the new clutch in terms of connection to the rear tyre." <BR><BR>SETE GIBERNAU – 17th Position, 1:53.285 <BR><BR>"I'm sore. This is not the best race-track to come to with an injury, because it is so bumpy. It starts right away with Turn One, with hard braking for a very rough right-hander. But I thought I would be even worse off. I'll have some therapy tonight, and I expect my second day back on the bike will be even better. I believe I will improve throughout the weekend. Today I had some engine trouble in the morning and the afternoon with one of my bikes, which meant I wasn't able to try everything I wanted to try. Put that together with my condition, and I think we are not going so badly. With two bikes tomorrow, we'll keep going forward." <BR><BR>GARRY TAYLOR – Team Manager <BR><BR>"Kenny is getting there step by step. His confidence is high and his attitude very positive, and he's very relaxed. He's been mainly tyre testing today, and there is more to come from him. Sete has been very brave, riding in what must be considerable pain. He had some problems today with one machine – actually it's the bike he crashed in Portugal, and though it has been completely rebuilt and everything renewed, there still seems to be an intermittent electrical fault. That will also be better tomorrow." <BR><BR>