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Marlboro Yamaha Team: Marlboro men ease into Assen

Marlboro Yamaha Team: Marlboro men ease into Assen

Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa were sixth and tenthin this afternoon´s opening qualifier at Assen, the unique public road-basedGP track. Assen is unlike any other circuit on the World Championshipcalendar and requires a special approach, both from riders and engineers.

Biaggi, Checa and their crews did valuable base work today, and withgood weather forecast throughout the event, they´re both confident of movingup the grid tomorrow in preparation for Saturday´s race, the seventh roundof this year´s 16-race series.

´This is definitely a special race for everyone,´ said Marlboro YamahaTeam manager Geoff Crust. ´And I think Max and Carlos will be okay here. Maxneeds to do a bit of work on chassis set-up, while Carlos will go fordifferent tyres tomorrow. So long as the weather stays okay we´ll be allright. They say there´ll be no rain, but then again, it is Assen.´

Both men have new engine parts here - different specificationcylinders that they first tested at Catalunya last week. ´The new cylindersgive smoother power with some more over-rev,´ explained Marlboro Yamaha Teamdirector Hiroya Atsumi.


Max Biaggi was sixth fastest in today´s ultra-rapid first qualifying sessionat Assen. The Italian, who had run second in this morning´s ´free´ session,spent much of the day working on chassis set-up.

´Our main problem is that our corner speed is down compared to lastyear,´ explained the Marlboro Yamaha Team star who turned 30 years old theday before yesterday. ´The bike feels a little unstable into the turns, so I´m losing corner speed, and that´s obviously losing me time down thestraights too. We started with our Barcelona settings, which aren´t toodifferent from what we ran here last year, but there is a difference - we´renow running the 16.5in rear. So we need to check all the data, work out whyour corner speed is down and then adapt the set-up. The pace up front isfast, I think it´ll be difficult to find over a second, but the race will bedifferent.´


Third fastest this morning, Carlos Checa was tenth this afternoon butoptimistic he can move closer to the front of the grid in tomorrow´sall-important final qualifier. A past podium finisher at Assen, the SpanishMarlboro Yamaha Team man´s fastest lap was achieved early in the sessionwhen he was running race tyres, because he chose a too-soft rear tyre forhis crucial end-of-session run.

´Early on I was running race tyres and the bike felt good,´ saidCheca. ´But at the end of the session when we fitted a softer rear to go fora time, we went too soft. The rear was giving so much grip that it wasmaking the front push into the turns, and out of the corners the rear wasmoving around, it was too unstable. We should be able to improve things fortomorrow, I think we´ll be okay.´

500cc, 2001

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