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Marlboro Yamaha team : Marlboro Yamaha Men in a hurry at Donington

Marlboro Yamaha team : Marlboro Yamaha Men in a hurry at Donington

Final qualifying for the British GP may not take place until tomorrow, butwith rain forecast, and some light drizzle during this afternoon´s session,Marlboro Yamaha Team star Max Biaggi wanted to get ahead of the game today.The Italian did so in stunning style, recording the fastest-ever lap aroundDonington. He thus ended the session on provisional pole, with team-mateCarlos Checa also looking strong on the second row.

´Max is in great spirits at the moment - he´s happy confident anddetermined,´ said the Marlboro Yamaha Team´s British team manager GeoffCrust. ´His fastest lap was brilliant, and the team´s doing a great job too,we´ve just got to take this concentration through to the race. The bike hasbeen just right at the last few races and it´s good here too, after we madea few small changes following this morning´s ´free´ session. He knew hecould do some fast laps, and with rain possibly on the way, he went out anddid it.

´Carlos took a little longer to get going but he feels good. It wasjust a matter of him getting wound up to put in the times. He feelsconfident and we think he´s going to have a good weekend.´

Biaggi on provisional pole

Max Biaggi grabbed provisional pole in breathtaking style with a newunofficial lap record, almost four tenths inside last year´s pole position.Winner of last weekend´s Dutch GP and currently second overall, Biaggi ischasing his second pole of the season.

´We improved the set-up from this morning and the bike feels better,´ said the Marlboro Yamaha Team man. ´We made a small change togeometry and the bike feels good into turns, that´s why I´m fast. We´vestill got some work to do on stability, though it´s never easy to findperfect stability, we just need to do some fine tuning. Michelin have beenworking really hard on tyres, we´ve got some new compounds andconstructions, though I did my best lap with the same tyre I used forqualifying at Assen. It´s soft, but not that soft. With the weather lookingunsure, it´s good to be on pole, but we´re looking beyond tomorrow, to therace.´

Yesterday Biaggi was given a special award by the Riders for Healthcharity, organisers of the day´s huge Day of Champions event that earned arecord £80,000. A set of the Italian´s leathers were auctioned for anamazing £4500, the biggest single earner of the day. ´Max has made anincredible contribution over the years,´ said Andrea Coleman of Riders forHealth, recently voted UK Charity of the Year. ´We´re very grateful, overthe years he´s probably made over £40,000 for the charity and that goes along way in Africa.´

Checa moves up to row two

Carlos Checa was a lowly 17th halfway through the session, biding his timeas he evaluated the contrasting set-ups of his two Marlboro Yamaha TeamYZR500s. But a few drops of rain mid-session were enough to give him thehurry up and the Spaniard soon got up to speed, moving to fifth at onepoint, eventually ending up eighth.

´I started the session with different settings in my bikes, justslight differences in suspension balance, and I was using used tyres,´ saidCheca. ´When I saw some rain on my visor, I thought ´Okay, now I must go´.There wasn´t much rain but it was enough to make you cautious but then itwas pretty much dry again so I was able to have a real go. I chose my bestbike and it felt good. We´ll leave things virtually unchanged for tomorrowand hope it stays dry.´

500cc, 2001

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