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Marlboro Yamaha Team

Marlboro Yamaha Team

Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa enjoyed contrasting fortunes in today´s final qualifying session at Catalunya. While Biaggi recovered from 13th yesterday to make sure of a front-row start in a baking-hot and hectic session, team-mate Carlos Checa was unable tobuild on early promise and slipped to the third row.

´Max nearly always starts practice at a steady pace and then comes good,´ explained Marlboro Yamaha Team director Hiroya Atsumi. ´He takes his time to fix any problems and then gets better. We improved his bike´s suspension balance today, curing some of the chatter and making the bike turn better. Lap times are very close at the front, and if he´d beenjust a fraction faster, he could´ve got pole, but first row is okay, thoughit´s the minimum for me! The good thing is that Max didn´t just do one quick lap, he´s been quite consistently fast. Track temperature was well over 40 degrees this afternoon and the tyre factor will be very big if tomorrowis any hotter.

´Carlos did an okay job yesterday and his team decided to change direction today. He wasn´t going so bad this morning but the bike didn´t seem to work so well on this afternoon´s hotter track. We well try moreof a standard setting for the race and see how he goes.´

BIAGGI SO CLOSE IN FOURTH

Max Biaggi ended qualifying for round six of this year´s World Championship in fourth place, just 0.175 seconds off pole-sitter Valentino Rossi (Honda). After a difficult Friday, the Marlboro Yamaha Team man came back instyle, upping his pace to mark himself down as a major contender for tomorrow´s race.

´We´ve made a real move forward, and it´s very satisfying to gofrom the fourth to the front row,´ said Biaggi, highest scorer at the lasttwo GPs and currently second on points. ´We worked hard but didn´t make any major changes, it was more a case of a little things working well together. We also found a good front tyre that gives me more confidence. We´re up front but we lost a day against the others yesterday, so the race willbe hard.

´I had a surprise today - Jacques Villeneuve appeared in my pit after the session. I´ve been telling him for ages to come to a bike GP, soit´s good to see him here. Tomorrow is a big day for me, even after the race. Roma are playing Parma and if they win, they win the Italian title! The game starts at three, so I need to find someone with the right satellitedish!´

CHECA UNABLE TO IMPROVE

Confident of a strong final qualifying session after being on the provisional second row yesterday, Carlos Checa was unable to find the set-up he required for this afternoon´s final qualifier. The local Marlboro Yamaha Team man couldn´t better his Friday times, and as others got faster, he slipped to 12th.

´I´m still getting a lot of chatter, so I´m not comfortable on the bike,´ he said. ´When I´m going through a corner at maximum angle, the rear starts chattering as soon as I get on the throttle, so I´m having towait before I accelerate, then stand up the bike as I get on the throttle and that´s losing me time. I don´t understand why it´s so bad. We´ll try something else in the warm-up and pray for a better race.´

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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