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Norick Abe reflects on Saturday´s qualifying and looks ahead to the 500 race

Norick Abe reflects on Saturday´s qualifying and looks ahead to the 500 race

This weekend is going quite well so far. Yesterday was really good and I had a great feeling with the tyre I used. Today the track and weather was really hot and we struggled a bit more to find the tyre combination that could increase the pace, so today wasn´t so great! That´s all we been doing though - focussing on finding a suitable tyre. Despite the warm weather the circuit was good for riding today I think that showed in the faster times. I´m a little disappointed to be down in eighth especially after being second yesterday but the race will be an exciting event.

This is a home GP for my team but I don´t feel under any more pressure; I always want to get a good result and a high finish will reflect well on the squad.

Last season wasn´t a bad one for me but I still didn´t finish as high as I wanted. The year began well and then my results were very erratic - either very good or very bad! 2001 has started in a fine way and I hope this will continue through the championship.

There are targets that I have been working towards for a better performance this season. My main aim has been not to crash! Our work on the bike, which is basically the same machine as last year, has advanced so we know it better and can get a more efficient set-up - this factor has helped my racing and I´ve hardly fallen in a race. Mugello was an exception! Although, I did manage to get back on the bike and finish 9th. I have also been trying to improve my positions in qualifying. Last season I was on the second row too many times and although I´m eighth for tomorrow my form over the whole race weekend has been better this year, Jerez was particularly pleasing.

The Catalunya track isn´t a bad place. Last year I was second here in the wet and although tomorrow looks like it will be a different kind of race I feel strong all around the circuit. I was fastest here in testing a few months ago and we have done some work on the bike to find a good set-up for this place. We will see after tomorrow if I really like the track or not!

500cc, 2001

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