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Team Telefonica Movistar Suzuki

Team Telefonica Movistar Suzuki

Friday, June 29, 2001 - Assen, Netherlands: Team Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts cut better than half a second off his best lap time of yesterday - but lost position on the starting grid for tomorrow´s Dutch TT in a very close final timed session at the classic Assen circuit.

Team-mate Sete Gibernau made an even bigger improvement, slashing more than a full second from his lap time and moving up from 12th on the grid to ninth, just three places down on his team-mate. But Sete will start from the head of the third row on the tightly-packed grid, missing out on eighth place and a second-row start by less than two tenths of a second.

Today´s practice, run in cooler, more overcast conditions, saw a generally faster session. For the Suzuki team, it was a day of continuing refinement to chassis settings, with Gibernau in particular finding a big improvement in overall balance after front and rear suspension adjustments. Assen, longest and fastest track of the year, puts strong demands on suspension, with banked-effect corners applying heavy loads and needing firm springs, and the track´s high speeds and continuous humps and dips requiring more compliance as well to achieve stability.

An indication of how much speeds have risen this year is that Roberts has improved by almost a full second on his best lap last year - but dropped three positions and from the front row of the grid.

KENNY ROBERTS - Sixth Position, 2:01.773

We´ve been going round and round with bike settings - which is basically the same situation that we´ve had since the beginning of the year. This is our level right now. I have to accept this. Obviously I´m not happy with this situation.

SETE GIBERNAU - Ninth position, 2:02.440

We improved quite a bit - but it seems like we´re still a bit of a way back. Once again my team did a great job - I was looking for the same feeling I had at Barcelona, the same good balance. With the banked corners, that´s much harder to find, because of the way the bike squats down hard at the apex. We have it pretty good, and we missed the second row by very little. Now it´s up to getting another good start, and look forward to the race. If the pace is mid 2´02 or low 2´03, I will be there.

GARRY TAYLOR - Team Manager

This is an amazingly tough season. Kenny improved on last year´s time by almost a full second, but everyone else has taken a jump. It´s good to see Sete´s improvement, after his strong ride at Barcelona two weeks go. Both our riders will have to give everything they can, and use all their opportunities tomorrow. Assen is a very interesting race track, and it can be surprising too. Maybe it will rain!

500cc, 2001

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