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Suzuki men start side by side at the Sachsenring

Suzuki men start side by side at the Sachsenring

Saturday, July 21, 2001 - Sachsenring, Germany: Team Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki riders Kenny Roberts Jr. and Sete Gibernau will start tomorrow´s German GP side by side from the third row of the starting grid, after a desperately close final qualifying position that saw the first 11 riders qualify with the same second.

Roberts and Gibernau were ninth and tenth in that group, with points leader Valentino Rossi the 11th man.

The close qualifying times reflect the character of the Sachsenring, still the shortest circuit of the season in spite of modifications that have added 200 metres and raised average speeds by more than four km/h. Tight corners and steep uphill and downhill sections complicate tyre choice and chassis set-up decisions, while the low overall speed and low gearing make a 500cc GP bike a real handful - borne out by a number of crashes in today´s final qualifying session.

It also means that overtaking opportunities are strictly limited, making a quick clean getaway even more important than usual.

The German GP is the ninth of 16 World Championship rounds in 2001, and precedes the four-weekend summer break before racing resumes at the end of August.

KENNY ROBERTS - Ninth Position, 1:26.784

Most of my good laps were interrupted by slow traffic - some of these guys never pay attention to the blue flags. Qualifying ninth, or 13th or tenth is all the same for us. If you´re not on the front row at this track, it´s very difficult. Maybe this time I can start from the middle and work to the front instead of starting up front and working my way backwards. Though I don´t know how that is going to happen - our situation is unfortunately still the same. But my guys will be working hard tonight, trying to come up with a different gearing package to try and help on the last part of the racetrack, where we haven´t been able to get the engine geared right yet.

SETE GIBERNAU - Tenth Position, 1:26.942

I managed to find a half-second from yesterday, from some small set-up changes, and because I am riding it better. I don´t think there is much more to be found, but we have some more small things to try tomorrow that should make the bike more consistent in the low 27s. Starting from the third row is going to make it tough.

GARRY TAYLOR - Team Manager

We´re not happy to be where we are, but if you look at the overall picture, we are still ahead of points leader Rossi, and we´re right up with the very quickest through the second of the four track sections, and quick through the first and third as well. If we can find some gearing that helps the riders in the fourth section, we´ll be in a better position for the race than for qualifying.

500cc, 2001

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