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Movistar Suzuki Sunday Press Release

Movistar Suzuki Sunday Press Release

Sunday, May 20, 2001 - Le Mans, France: Team Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts Junior finished sixth in today´s French GP, after starting from the front row of the grid for the first time in the four-race-old season, and leading for the early part of the race.

As the race wore on, defending World Champion Roberts was unable to fend off his rivals, but it was only in the closing stages that he lost touch with what had been a three-strong group disputing fourth place, and was comfortably clear of the next finisher. Sixth improved on his consistent seventh-place record so far this season.

Team-mate Sete Gibernau started at a disadvantage after problems in the crucial final qualifying session, but achieved his best finish since joining the team. Circulating steadily, he was soon involved in a race-long four-way battle, and was beaten by only one of the riders to finish ninth.

The race, round 28 laps of the tight, 4.306km Bugatti circuit, was held in sunny conditions in front of a crowd of 57,000 spectators. It was the fourth of 16 rounds in the 2001 World Championship, with the next round at Mugello in Italy in two weeks time.

KENNY ROBERTS - Sixth Position

´I got the start I needed and the early laps went well. Basically it´s the same story as the previous races. We were a little more competitive at the beginning of the race, but over full race distance it gets more difficult. Once the tyres become about medium worn, the other guys have a big advantage in throttle connection and acceleration. As usual, I did my best.´

SETE GIBERNAU - Ninth Position

´We didn´t have the greatest qualifying, with problems in the last session, so the set-up was not great - though we worked hard to get where we did. In warm-up I was seventh-fastest, but I was having some trouble with stability under braking, and we weren´t able to solve that for the race. It´s a learning process, and our priority at this stage is to finish races. When things go our way with the machine the priority will change, and I´ll be aiming to be at the front. Now it would be an error to try to do something we´re not able to do. We´re ready for more - the rider and the team.´

GARRY TAYLOR - Team Manager

We´ve crept up a couple of places. Sixth is better than seventh - but it´s not what this team is about. Both our riders did their best - Sete was really consistent, and was lapping faster than Kenny at one stage. We have to keep working.

500cc, 2001

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