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Marlboro Yamaha team : Marlboro Yamaha men up front at Assen

Marlboro Yamaha team : Marlboro Yamaha men up front at Assen

Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa enjoyed a great final qualifying session at Assen this afternoon, moving up to first- and second-row starts for tomorrow´s Dutch GP. Biaggi was particularly spectacular, leaving his best until the final moments to get within a tenth of pole position. Checa is also in optimistic mood after moving up to seventh quickest.

´The team did a great job today, so thanks to everyone,´ said Marlboro Yamaha Team director Hiroya Atsumi. ´We worked hard to improve machine balance for both riders, concentrating on suspension settings, so they´re getting a better feeling from their bikes. Also, the new cylinders that Max and Carlos are using are working well.´

Assen, the only GP track based on public roads, is a unique circuit with frequent and dramatic camber changes that demand something extra from bike and rider. Not unusually there were a number of crashes today, Chris Walker (Honda) coming off worst, with concussion and a finger injury.

´This is such a complex racetrack, even the straights have bends in them,´ explained Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust. ´The room for error is tiny, so it´s easy to make a mistake. You need a really good overall balance here, so the bike floats through the camber changes. The team did a brilliant job today, so we´re looking forward to going racing tomorrow.´


Sixth fastest yesterday, Max Biaggi and his crew worked wonders at Assen today, lapping a massive 1.930 seconds quicker to move up to second fastest. The Marlboro Yamaha Team star spent much of the session duelling for second with title-rival Valentino Rossi (Honda), Biaggi winning the contest with a stunning final lap, just 0.133 seconds off pole position.

´I´m very happy to be on the front row,´ said the Italian. ´The bike was a little unstable yesterday, and though the changes we made for this morning made the bike better, it still wasn´t perfect. This afternoon we found the right compromise and we also tried a few different tyres which helped me to do consistent times.

´I must say bravo to my team because they´ve done a great job here, especially when I came in with four minutes to go. They changed my rear wheel really fast, so I could go out again for another good run. We made a big jump today after we´d studied yesterday´s data, so I feel good and ready for the race. I just hope the weather stays the same.´


Carlos Checa moved up from the third to the second row in this afternoon´s final qualifier, filling the Spaniard with confidence for tomorrow´s Dutch GP, round seven of the 2001 World Championship. Like team-mate Biaggi, Checa concentrated on improving the overall balance of his YZR500s on this most complex of racetracks.

´We´ve gone softer on the rear suspension which has improved rear-tyre feel and reduced front-end push,´ said Checa, who ended the day just a fraction of a second behind reigning World Champion Kenny Roberts (Suzuki). ´It´s a compromise that we started working towards during the tests we did at Barcelona after the Catalan GP, and it´s really improved my overall feeling for the bike. I did my best times on race tyres, because a soft rear doesn´t seem to work so well around here. I feel confident for the race. I feel like I can maintain a good pace and run up front. It´s good, but of course we must keep working to make things even better.´

500cc, 2001

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