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Oct 20, 2001

Updated Post With Final 500cc Grid: Kurtis Roberts Qualifies 18th For Malaysian Grand Prix

From a press release issued by Proton Team KR:<BR><BR>Round 15: Malaysian GP, Sepang<BR>Final Qualifying: Saturday, October 20, 2001 <BR><BR>Jurgen van den Goorbergh: 15th Position, 2:08.547 <BR>Kurtis Roberts: 18th Position, 2:09.221 <BR><BR>Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh is a doubtful starter for tomorrow's Malaysian GP, after suffering concussion in a heavy crash early in the final qualifying session. Although not otherwise injured, the Dutch rider was taken to hospital in Kuala Lumpur for observation, and the results of the medical examination will determine whether he will be fit to take part in tomorrow's race. <BR><BR>One-race teammate Kurtis Roberts reversed his fortunes after crashing out of yesterday's first timed session. Today he improved steadily as he gained familiarity with a track he has never seen before, and a motorcycle he has never ridden before. By the end of this afternoon's final timed session he had slashed four seconds off his best time of yesterday, and was beginning to get on terms with motorcycle racing's premier class, and to start thinking about ways to adapt the motorcycle to suit his riding style. <BR><BR>The Malaysian GP - 15th of 16 World Championship rounds this season - is a second home race for the Proton KR3. The team and the factory are based in England, but the Malaysian connection goes beyond just sponsorship, with the Malaysian car company's engineers and engineering facilities an important part of the joint effort. <BR> <BR><BR>KURTIS ROBERTS <BR><BR>"I've never seen this track before yesterday, so it was good to have a full dry session without any trouble. We haven't even scratched the surface yet. This bike has been developed around Jurgen, and my riding style is quite a bit different, from my experience riding Superbikes, especially in the way I load the front. We've got some changes to make tomorrow, and if I can get the bike to do what I want it to do, I believe I can get into the 2:08 bracket, and maybe even a bit quicker. Then I hope I can get among some of the four-cylinders, and have some fun in my first 500-class GP". <BR> <BR><BR>CHUCK AKSLAND - Team Manager <BR><BR>"Jurgen suffered some concussion, and he is under observation. We'll have to see how he responds tonight, and decide about racing tomorrow. Kurtis is picking up the pace. He's only had one hour-long dry session, and already he's just 3.5-seconds off pole time, and less than three tenths off Cardoso's factory V4 Yamaha. We're also starting to understand his riding style, and his braking technique, and we'll make some improvements to the bike overnight to suit that. Considering he's never seen the place before, he's going good". <BR><BR><BR><BR>And now a press release from Marlboro Yamaha:<BR><BR>MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX, SEPANG<BR>Final Qualifying, Saturday, October 20, 2001<BR><BR>MARLBORO YAMAHA MEN HAVE TORRID DAY AT BOILING SEPANG<BR><BR>Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa had a fraught final qualifying session at boiling-hot Sepang this afternoon, Biaggi slipping to third following a tumble and Checa struggling to 13th.<BR><BR>In withering heat and humidity the pair did their best to prepare for the Malaysian GP, despite another morning session run mostly in the damp. Tomorrow's race, round 15 of the 2001 World Championship, is likely to be their toughest physical challenge of the year. "Today wasn't such a good day, so we have a lot of work ahead of us tonight," said Marlboro Yamaha Team Director Hiroya Atsumi. "It looked like Max got the front end bouncing on some bumps going into the final hairpin, that's why he fell. His set-up is so-so but Carlos seems to have more of a problem here. It's strange because he finished second at the last two races at this track but he doesn't feel happy with the balance of his bike at the moment."<BR><BR>BIAGGI THIRD AFTER FALL<BR>Second-fastest yesterday, Max Biaggi slipped to third in this afternoon's final Sepang qualifier after a minor tumble 20 minutes before the chequered flag. The Marlboro Yamaha Team rider was able to continue the session but unable to improve on his Friday best. Nevertheless he has qualified almost a second faster than he qualified for this event last year.<BR><BR>"I was trying to get myself into a good rhythm but the bike was moving around and I lost the front going into the final turn," said the Italian. "It's been a difficult day, this track is pretty slippery in the heat but I tried my best, so I'm a little angry after the crash. Anyway, I got back to the pits and waited until my bike was ready but I'd lost some confidence, so I wasn't able to improve on yesterday's time. But we're still on the front row and that's good."<BR><BR>CHECA SLIPS TO ROW FOUR<BR>Carlos Checa didn't have the best of Saturdays at Sepang. Struggling to get comfortable around the sweeping Malaysian track, he slipped to 13th quickest.<BR><BR>"We've tried various different settings to improve things but I just don't feel good on the bike here," said the Marlboro Yamaha Team man who had been tenth in the opening qualifying session here. "Yesterday was bad and we thought we'd make some progress today. I'm still getting quite a bit of chatter in a few corners and that's not helping. We'll see what we can do with the set-up in the morning warm-up but I'm not expecting any miracles. I'll just go out and get the most points I can."<BR><BR>CAPIROSSI STAYS ON POLE<BR>Loris Capirossi was one of many riders unable to improve on their Friday lap times today, but the Honda rider had been fast enough yesterday to give him his fourth pole position of 2001. Once again Italians dominate here, with Capirossi first, Valentino Rossi (Honda) second and Max Biaggi third.<BR><BR>"Because this morning's session was damp I spent this afternoon testing race settings and tyres, I only stopped twice in the session," he said. "I did have one go with soft tyres at the end but it didn't work out."<BR><BR>ROSSI SO CLOSE<BR>Valentino Rossi may have secured his first 500 World Championship last weekend but that didn't stop him having a last-minute go at pole position today. The Italian ended up second, just 0.075 seconds shy of Capirossi. "My guys did a great job, the bike set-up is much better today," he said. "I could've got pole but I made a little mistake exiting the final corner, running up and over the kerb, which lost me some time."<BR><BR>FRONT ROW<BR>1. Loris Capirossi (ITA) West HONDA Pons 2:05.637<BR>2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA 2:05.712<BR>3. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team 2:05.842<BR>4. Garry McCoy (AUS) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM 2:05.961<BR>13. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team 2:07.751<BR><BR><BR><BR>Saturday 500cc Grand Prix Qualifying Times:<BR>1. Valentino Rossi, Honda, 2:05.712<BR>2. Garry McCoy, Yamaha, 2:05.961<BR>3. Loris Capirossi, Honda, 2:06.265<BR>4. Alex Barros, Honda, 2:06.465<BR>5. Olivier Jacque, Yamaha, 2:06.686<BR>6. Sete Gibernau, Suzuki, 2:06.736<BR>7. Kenny Roberts, Suzuki, 2:06.755<BR>8. Norick Abe, Yamaha, 2:06.877<BR>9. Shinya Nakano, Yamaha, 2:06.905<BR>10. Alex Criville, Honda, 2:06.984<BR>11. Tohru Ukawa, Honda, 2:07.055<BR>12. Max Biaggi, Yamaha, 2:07.152<BR>13. Carlos Checa, Yamaha, 2:07.751<BR>14. Noriyuki Haga, Yamaha, 2:07.796<BR>15. Jose Luis Cardoso, Yamaha, 2:08.936<BR>16. Kurtis Roberts, Proton, 2:09.221<BR>17. Anthony West, Honda, 2:09.383<BR>18. Haruchika Aoki, Honda, 2:09.705<BR>19. Jurgen vd Goorbergh, Proton, 2:09.845<BR>20. Barry Veneman, Honda, 2:11.695<BR><BR>Saturday 250cc Grand Prix Qualifying Times:<BR>1. Daijiro Katoh, Honda, 2:08.151<BR>2. Fonsi Nieto, Aprilia, 2:09.024<BR>3. Emilio Alzamora, Honda, 2:09.358<BR>4. Roberto Rolfo, Aprilia, 2:09.531<BR>5. Tetsuya Harada, Aprilia, 2:09.699<BR>6. Roberto Locatelli, Aprlia, 2:09.813<BR>7. Marco Melandri, Aprilia, 2:09.872<BR>8. Jeremy McWilliams, Aprilia, 2:09.901<BR>9. Randy De Puniet, Aprilia, 2:09.920<BR>10. Shahrol Yuzy, Yamaha, 2:10.348<BR>26. Katja Poensgen, Honda, 2:14.568<BR><BR>Saturday 125cc Grand Prix Qualifying Times:<BR>1. Youichi Ui, Derbi, 2:15.516<BR>2. Lucio Cecchinello, Aprilia, 2:15.615<BR>3. Daniel Pedrosa, Honda, 2:15.683<BR>4. Gino Borsoi, Aprilia, 2:15.981<BR>5. Angel Nieto, Jr., Honda, 2:16.054<BR>6. Manuel Poggiali, Gilera, 2:16.165<BR>7. Toni Elias, Honda, 2:16.409<BR>8. Simone Sanna, Aprilia, 2:16.533<BR>9. Arnaud Vincent, Honda, 2:16.706<BR>10. Jaroslav Hules, Honda, 2:16.759<BR><BR><BR><BR>Final 500cc Grid:<BR>1. Capirossi, 2:05.637<BR>2. Rossi, 2:05.712<BR>3. Biaggi, 2:05.842<BR>4. McCoy, 2:05.961<BR>5. Barros, 2:06.465<BR>6. Nakano, 2:06.489<BR>7. Jacque, 2:06.686<BR>8. Gibernau, 2:06.736<BR>9. Kenny Roberts, 2:06.755<BR>10. Abe, 2:06.877<BR>11. Criville, 2:06.984<BR>12. Ukawa, 2:07.055<BR>13. Checa, 2:07.751<BR>14. Haga, 2:07.796<BR>15. van den Goorbergh, 2:08.547<BR>16. Aoki, 2:08.899<BR>17. Cardoso, 2:08.936<BR>18. Kurtis Roberts, 2:09.221<BR>19. Anthony West, 2:09.383<BR>20. Veneman, 2:11.695<BR>21. Leon Haslam, 2:11.932<BR>22. Stigefelt, 2:11.998<BR>23. Brendan Clarke, 2:12.903
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