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MoviStar Suzuki Friday press release

MoviStar Suzuki Friday press release

ROBERTS BATTLES FOR FIRST-DAY POLE

Team Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts Junior took a leading role in a thrilling battle for provisional pole in today´s first qualifying session for Sunday´s French GP.

Roberts headed the list several times, and ended up fourth, still on the provisional front row, and a meagre three tenths of a second behind the eventual fastest man, Garry McCoy. It was the defending World Champion´s best qualifying session so far this year, after successful tests following the last round at Jerez, Spain.

Team-mate Sete Gibernau was 11th, but only just over half-a-second slower than Roberts, and less than a second off pole - his position reflecting desperately close qualifying times for the fourth race of the 2001 season.

The first practice session for the French GP took place in cool but dry conditions, after a brief rain shower between the morning and afternoon sessions.

KENNY ROBERTS - Fourth position, 1:39.692
We have much the same settings as we had at Jerez, and I don´t want to get anybody depressed, but this is exactly the same time as we set last year with essentially the same package. I´m finding it real difficult to get much below that. Last year I jumped off at one of the places on the track where I do want to make improvements. That´s why I think it will be hard to go faster. Having said that, Warren Willing and my race engineer Bob Toomey hopefully can get their heads together and improve the bike for those areas of the track where we feel we can go quicker. As usual, we won´t give up.

SETE GIBERNAU - Eleventh position, 1:40.312
This is my first time at this track with the Suzuki, and only the second time I´ve been here. And we struggled last year - so I´m happy that we are doing good lap times, fast and consistent. The bike is helping me more now. I tested some new Ohlins front forks at Jerez, and I think that they´re an improvement for me. I´m getting to the point now where I can ride the bike how I like it. Thanks to hard work from the team, we´re getting close to putting the puzzle together.

GARRY TAYLOR - Team Manager
If it rains tomorrow, Kenny is on the front row. He might have been even higher except he was slowed on a fast lap right at the end of the session. Sete is also going well, and his times are very close to pole. In fact, all the times are very close, with 11 riders within the first second, so it´s going to be an exciting race. Generally the whole team is feeling very positive about this race.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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