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Repsol YPF Honda: Saturday press release

Repsol YPF Honda: Saturday press release

Tohru Ukawa managed to defend his position on the second row of the starting grid with sixth place, whereas his team-mate Alex Crivillé, who was eighth yesterday, lost one place and will have to start from the third row on the grid. Once again, the most amazing fact was how close the competition turned out to be within the ten fastest riders. Finally, Valentino Rossi was a fraction faster than the others and will start from pole. Tohru Ukawa is almost completely recovered from his right ankle injury, whereas Crivillé, who tried everything to take a front row position, lost his chances when other riders ran off the track in front of him just meters from the finish.

Tohru Ukawa: ´Obviously I am not very happy because I hoped to start from front row tomorrow, but finally I was about one second off the pace. On this track, it is crucial to get a good start, because it is difficult to overtake. The track is dirty, and when you are off the best line, it is easy to end up besides the track. But I am optimistic. We found a good set-up and we know which tyres to run in the race. Furthermore, my foot hardly bothers me any more, so I was able to ride much more concentrated than yesterday. I didn’t finish the race in Suzuka, so to make it to the end is the most important thing for me, even though a podium would be even better!´.

Alex Crivillé: ´I was on a good run in my final lap and stayed within the six fastest riders in the first three sections of the track, but in the last corner, several riders ran off the track and made it dirty, and I had no other option than to cut the gas. The most important thing here is to start well, and I am a bit disappointed to having lost my second row grid position. But I still have my goal set to finish the race on the podium tomorrow, which is why I need to get a good start at any cost. This practice session was very competitive and close again, so we will see a group of riders staying together in the race. Our set-up is good, we only have to fine-tune the suspension a bit in the warm-up.´

500cc, 2001

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