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Jun 28, 2002

Updated Post: Rossi On MotoGP Pole At Assen, Roberts 3rd, Hopkins 10th

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Final Grid For MotoGP at Assen:<BR>1. Valentino Rossi, Honda RC211V, 2:01.691<BR>2. Max Biaggi, Yamaha YZR-M1, 2:01.716<BR>3. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki GSV-R, 2:01.836<BR>4. Loris Capirossi, Honda NSR500,2:01.983<BR>5. Alex Barros, Honda NSR500, 2:02.019<BR>6. Carlos Checa, Yamaha YZR-M1, 2:02.236<BR>7. Tetsuya Harada, Honda NSR500, 2:02.485<BR>8. Tohru Ukawa, Honda RC211V, 2:02.496<BR>9. Jeremy McWilliams, Proton KR3, 2:02.626<BR>10. John Hopkins, Yamaha YZR500, 2:02.764<BR>11. Regis Laconi, Aprilia RS3, 2:03.167<BR>12. Alex Hofmann, Yamaha YZR500, 2:03.187<BR>13. N. Aoki, Proton KR3, 2:03.491<BR>14. Shinya Nakano, Yamaha YZR500, 2:03.516<BR>15. Jurgen v.d. Goorbergh, Honda NSR500, 2:03.823<BR>16. Sete Gibernau, Suzuki GSV-R, 2:03.908<BR>17. Daijiro Kato, Honda NSR500, 2:04.311<BR>18. Pere Riba, Yamaha YZR500, 2:04.587<BR>19. Norick Abe, Yamaha YZR500, 2:04.734<BR>20. Olivier Jacque, Yamaha YZR500, 2:06.161<BR>21. Akira Ryo, Suzuki GSV-R, 2:06.679<BR><BR><BR>Times From Friday's Wet Qualifying Session:<BR><BR>1. Carlos Checa, Yamaha YZR-M1, 2:05.331<BR>2. Sete Gibernau, Suzuki GSV-R, 2:06.758<BR>3. Olivier Jacque, Yamaha YZR500, 2:08.124<BR>4. Tohru Ukawa, Honda RC211V, 2:08.339<BR>5. John Hopkins, Yamaha YZR500, 2:08.354<BR>6. Nobuatsu Aoki, Proton KR3, 2:09.037<BR>7. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki GSV-R, 2:09.256<BR>8. Shinya Nakano, Yamaha YZR500, 2:09.539<BR>9. Alex Hofmann, Yamaha YZR500, 2:09.553<BR>10. Daijio Kato, Honda NSR500, 2:11.173<BR>11. Jeremy McWilliams, Proton KR3, 2:12.625<BR>12. Regis Laconi, Aprilia RS3, 2:13.024<BR>13. Pere Riba, Yamaha YZR500, 2:13.906<BR>14. Norick Abe, Yamaha YZR500, 2:14.121<BR>15. Max Biaggi, Yamaha YZR-M1, 2:14.895<BR>16. Akira Ryo, Suzuki GSV-R, 2:16.509<BR>17. Valentino Rossi, Honda RC211V, 2:19.220<BR>18. Jurgen vd Goorbergh, Honda NSR500, 2:20.384<BR>19. Alex Barros, Honda NSR500, 2:20.591<BR>20. Tetsuya Harada, Honda NSR500, 2:24.084<BR>21. Loris Capirossi, Honda NSR500, 2:36.355<BR><BR><BR>More, from Marlboro Yamaha:<BR><BR>DUTCH TT, ASSEN<BR>Final Qualifying, Friday June 28 2002<BR><BR>MARLBORO YAMAHA MEN ON FIRST AND SECOND ROWS<BR>Regular downpours throughout today's Assen schedule ensured there was no change from yesterday's provisional grid, which means Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa will start tomorrow's Dutch TT from the first and second rows.<BR><BR>Both riders used the ever-changing conditions to test new Michelin rain tyres in this morning's soaking 'free' session, when Checa was second quickest and Biaggi fifth. This afternoon's final qualifier also started wet, the track almost drying out before receiving another drenching after half an hour. Checa ended up quickest in that session, though three seconds off his best lap in Thursday's dry opening qualifier.<BR><BR>"That was a typical Assen day!" smiled Marlboro Yamaha Team director Davide Brivio. "At least we were able to do some rain-tyre testing, which may be useful for tomorrow, and also run our engine-braking system in the wet once again. We re-map the system for the wet, to make the bike 'softer' into the corners.<BR><BR>"It could be a tricky race if the conditions are like today's, because the new section of the track seems to dry more slowly than the rest of the circuit, so the surface could be wet in some parts and dry in others, but of course, it's the same for everyone. If the race is dry, I think we're in not-too-bad shape, we should be able to run up front, though both Max and Carlos weren't able to really do any work on set-up today."<BR><BR><BR>BIAGGI'S FOURTH SUCCESSIVE FRONT-ROW START<BR>Winner of last year's thrilling Dutch TT, Max Biaggi will start tomorrow's race from second on the grid, the placing he achieved in yesterday's dry qualifying session. The Marlboro Yamaha Team star was in fine form once again today, running well in the wet this morning and using the latter stages of this afternoon's wet-and-dry session to evaluate a new Michelin intermediate rear tyre.<BR><BR>"It's always the same here - incredible weather," grinned Biaggi after securing his fourth successive top-three start. "We couldn't really try anything with our dry-track set-up, so today's sessions weren't very useful from that point of view. I've heard it could be dry tomorrow, but you never know. During this afternoon's qualifying session the conditions changed again and again, and if it's like that tomorrow, everything will depend on making the correct tyre choice. It'll be very delicate and the race will be really difficult for everyone. And if I can win in conditions like that, I'll be very happy."<BR><BR>CHECA FASTEST TODAY, SIXTH ON THE GRID<BR>Carlos Checa was fastest in this afternoon's final qualifying session, running just three laps in the middle of the hour-long outing when the track was at its driest. The Marlboro Yamaha Team rider was 1.4 seconds quicker than everyone else, though that performance won't affect his grid position which is determined by his faster pace in yesterday's dry session, when he was sixth quickest.<BR><BR>"We had planned to test a few things on chassis set-up but we weren't really able to do anything too useful," said Checa. "I only got three flying laps this afternoon, when it was almost dry, which will give us some data though I'll want to test those changes again in morning warm-up, if it's dry. I felt okay on the bike yesterday, so we should be okay if the race is dry. Obviously I'd prefer some sun tomorrow, even though this track is quite nice in the wet, it's still more grippy than anywhere else when it rains. A wet race would be quite risky because this place is very fast and narrow, and also because the new section seems to stay wet for longer than the rest of the track."<BR><BR>PROBLEMS FOR POLE-MAN ROSSI<BR>Valentino Rossi (Honda) made a huge effort to snatch provisional pole from Max Biaggi yesterday and that lap paid off this afternoon, when it gave the World Championship leader his sixth pole of 2002. "Pole ended up being my last lap from yesterday, so I'm happy I managed that," he smiled. "But I'm not so happy with our dry-track set-up, we need more time to work on that, and we also have some set-up problems in the wet." The other front-row qualifiers are Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) and Loris Capirossi (Honda).<BR><BR><BR><BR>More, from Red Bull Yamaha:<BR><BR>DUTCH TT - ASSEN<BR>Final Qualifying - Friday, 28th June 2002<BR><BR>YOUNG GUNS HAVE A THIRD ROW START<BR>Intermittent rain hampered the final qualifying session today at the Dutch TT in Assen. Red Bull Yamaha teammates Hopkins and Hofmann who qualified yesterday in 10th and 12th positions, today held those places for the premier-class grid tomorrow. The utterly determined 19-year-old American rookie, "Hopper" was in 5th position in the qualifying session this afternoon, again securing his rank this weekend as the fastest 2-stroke Yamaha rider. Hofmann who up to the start of today's qualifying session has ridden the YZR500 for only 361 laps will start the race tomorrow on the third row. This is an outstanding achievement for the young Moto GP replacement rider. Today Alex qualified in 9th position, but due to the wet conditions yesterday's qualifying times will stand.<BR><BR>John Hopkins: 5th today at 2:08.354, (10th position on grid at 2:02.764, Thursday's time)<BR>"I'm happy with the third row start but I felt I could have improved on that if this session would have been dry. We tested our wet set-up in the practice session this morning and used the qualifying session this afternoon to get a good set-up on a full intermediate setting. So we now have all bases covered for tomorrow.<BR><BR>"My plan is to get with the lead pack early and not get caught up in any 1st lap mishaps. I'm focusing on putting in a good first lap and I'm trying to improve in that area. I'm happy with my starts and my goal tomorrow is to finish in the Top 8."<BR><BR>Alex Hofmann: 9th today at 2:09.553, (12th position on grid at 2:03.187, Thursday's time)<BR>"What a crazy session, we went out firstly on a total slick and by the time I got to the last chicane it was raining very hard in front of me. Not all the track was wet, about 60% dry and about 40% wet. We changed the tyres about 3 times during the session, intermediate, slick, than wet. I hope tomorrow that it is constant weather tomorrow otherwise it's a bit of a gamble. I will really enjoy being on the third row tomorrow, I was happy on the third row last year on a 250 so to be there tomorrow on a 500 is great. I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow."<BR><BR>Peter Clifford:<BR>"A great starting position for Alex in his second ride with the team. I'm sure John feels like he has a little extra to show in the race but we will be happy if he just keeps the progress going that he has shown so far this season."<BR><BR>For more team information visit<BR><BR>More, from Aprilia:<BR><BR>Régis Laconi and the Cube make third row in Assen rain.<BR><BR>Free practice in the wet and afternoon sessions with the track half dry. Tomorrow's starting positions are thus those established in yesterday's tests. Régis's eleventh place yesterday thus puts him on the third row for the race. A tough, complicated afternoon with sun, rain, and gusts of driving wind: as a result, the tarmac presented a whole range of conditions. Dry in some places, soaking wet in others. The problem was thus to set up a work programme to gain the right references and get the most out of tomorrow's race whatever the weather conditions may be. In the qualifying session, Régis rode the Cube configured for the wet. On the dry stretches, he was able to test the duration of the rain tyres in case the start is in the wet and the end on a dry track. Finding the right solution in such conditions is no easy task, and the final choice will be made just a few minutes before the start tomorrow.<BR><BR># 55 Régis Laconi – (MS APRILIA RACING) 11° - 2'03.167<BR><BR>"There was intermittent rain and gusts of wind all morning. Holes have been made in the fairings of the Cube to lessen the effect of side winds. It made things better, but it was still hard to ride: the front of the bike was lighter, so when the wind did come, I ran the risk of losing grip on the ground. This morning, I used rain tyres with a pretty hard rubber mixture, so I thought I'd switch to a softer type in the afternoon. But the track was completely dry in some places and I went back to the morning's choice. In these conditions, it's impossible to get all that much work done properly. Even so, I was able to try out the duration of the rain tyres on the dry track, just in case we start in the rain and end in the sun. With such changeable weather, I'd prefer a race with intermediates: like this, it would more the skill of the riders that makes the difference." <BR><BR> <BR>More, from a press release issued by Honda:<BR><BR>HONDA RACING NEWS<BR><BR>MotoGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2002<BR>DUTCH TT, ASSEN<BR>Final Qualifying, Friday June 28<BR><BR>ANOTHER POLE FOR ROSSI<BR>Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda Team RCV211V) took his sixth pole position of the year, courtesy of his first session time, 2:01.691, set on Thursday. Lingering damp track conditions during the final MotoGP qualifying session made it a tentative start for most of the 21-strong entry when pit lane opened today. A subsequent mid-session rain shower negated the chances of any of the riders improving their times, with persistent wet sections spoiling an otherwise rapidly drying track surface.<BR><BR>Rossi was satisfied with his Thursday pole time, set on his very last lap; a time that deprived Yamaha rider Max Biaggi from the chance of taking consecutive pole position starts. "It proved to be that the last lap from yesterday was the pole position time and that makes me happy," said Rossi, the clear World Championship leader. "I am not so happy about the set-up of the bike and we needed today's sessions to be dry to give us more practice time. We also have some setting problems in the wet, so I am hoping for sunshine tomorrow anyway. We will have to see what the weather is like but I'm sure that it will be very difficult, in wet or dry conditions."<BR><BR>Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) took the third fastest time. Fourth place Loris Capirossi (West Honda Pons NSR500) joined Rossi on the front row for the 19-lap race on Saturday, delayed until 15.30 because of the kick-off times in the World Cup soccer competition. "Yesterday we had a good qualifying session and set a fast lap time in the dry," reaffirmed Capirossi. "I think that comparing the two-strokes against the four-strokes is not so bad here. We are better than in Mugello or Barcelona. Maybe this track is the one we will be closest to the four-strokes all year, and it will be possible to have a good result tomorrow."<BR><BR>Three Honda riders qualified in second row positions, the first of them fifth-placed Alex Barros (West Honda Pons NSR500), who was particularly rueful, after missing out on more than just a front row grid placing. "Right from the start the bike has adapted well to this circuit, using the settings from last year. We have changed the gear change ratio, since the modifications to the circuit have neutralised the differences with the four-strokes. I am of course a little disappointed because I held the pole position for most of the first session. All our plans for today have been laid to waste by the rain. I have not been able to test the things I wanted to."<BR><BR>Seventh overall came the ever-improving Tetsuya Harada (Pramac Honda NSR500) "Today has been useless," he stated. "The weather conditions changed every minute and at the end we were unable to ride with wet or dry conditions as well. I don't like racing under the rain and it's difficult to find the right set-up for the bike. I feel more confident with a dry track when my shoulder is not aching a lot."<BR><BR>The second Honda vee five four-stroke in the race put Tohru Ukawa (Repsol Honda Team RCV211V) eighth, after a fraught qualifying. "A pretty disappointing day really," said the disgruntled Ukawa. "The weather conditions made it very difficult for us this afternoon and we had a little problem with the power-shift on the bike this morning, although we luckily didn't lose too much track time. Second row of the grid isn't a real problem, I've made some good starts this season and I'll have to make another one tomorrow."<BR><BR>Jurgen van den Goorbergh (Kanemoto Racing Honda NSR500 had a somewhat disappointing qualification on his home circuit, after being as high as eighth on the opening day. A cruising rider slowed his progress during his best lap, causing him to return to the pits for new tyres, and ultimately elegating him to a lowly 15th. "I didn't have two laps left on the set of tyres I had on the bike," said van den Goorbergh of his opening day at Assen. "We changed them but after one lap I was out of fuel as I went over the start/finish line. These things happen. It's frustrating because I knew I could have improved my lap time today if it was dry and the Bridgestone's have been very good. The modifications to the track make it harder to overtake so, realistically, if I could get into the top ten coming from a 15th place start, we would think of it as a good result. In the wet we may have an even better chance of an improved finish."<BR><BR>Daijiro Katoh (Fortuna Honda Gresini NSR500) experienced problems with the ever-changing weather conditions, finishing 17th. "The rain bothered me and I couldn't try. One half of the track would be wet and the other half would be dry," said a frustrated Japanese. "Tomorrow I prefer top have safe conditions, either fully wet or fully dry, but not in between. Anyway, I don't like racing in the rain!"