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Marlboro Yamaha

Marlboro Yamaha

Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa will start tomorrow´s crucial Czech GP from the first and second rows of the grid after clockingthe fastest and seventh fastest laps. Both men were well satisfied withtheir final day of qualifying in 30 degree heat and are looking forward tothe race, round ten of this year´s 16-race 500 World Championship.

Biaggi´s stunning Friday lap proved invincible today, both for himself andhis rivals, so the Italian will start from pole position tomorrow, alongsidearch-title-rival Valentino Rossi (Honda) who closed to within two tenths ofa second during the final moments of this afternoon´s session.

´I knew Rossi would get close, everyone is always so close in 500s,´ saidMarlboro Yamaha Team director Hiroya Atsumi. ´But I am surprised how fasteveryone is going, so much faster than last year, a lot of that is down totyres and riders. Max didn´t go quicker today, he worked at checking hismachine and tyres for race-distance endurance. Carlos seems okay too. Hemade a little mistake this afternoon but came back well. I´m hoping they canboth finish on the podium, just like Germany.´


Max Biaggi may not have been able to beat his Friday best today but theMarlboro Yamaha Team star believes he is in great shape for tomorrow´s racewhich promises to be one of the most gruelling of the year. Biaggi iscurrently ten points adrift of series leader Valentino Rossi and a win herewould considerably boost his World Championship hopes. Brno is a happyhunting ground for Biaggi, who´s only been beaten once at the track in thepast seven years.

´I knew my time would be hard to beat, I did my best but we had a smallproblem early in the session,´ explained Biaggi after his fourth pole of2001. ´Some oil got on to a footpeg and that made my foot slip off the ´peg,I almost crashed, it was a scary moment. That lost us ten minutes as wechecked the bike over. After that I went out and put some laps on a fewdifferent tyres, so we´ve tried all the different options, now we just needto calculate which tyre will be the best for the race. We made a few smallchanges to the bike from yesterday, and I´ve a few other things I´d like totry in the warm-up. It´s going to be a difficult race, I´ll be doingeverything I can to win.´


Carlos Checa slid off his Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR500 in the first fewminutes of this afternoon´s final qualifier but proved his mettle with agreat recovery. The Spaniard later cut 0.631 seconds from his Friday best tomove up one place to seventh and he´s delighted with his machine set-up.

´We´ve improved the balance of the bike once again, so I´m very happyabout that,´ said Checa. ´Now when I go from brake to flick I´m getting muchbetter feeling, and that´s very important to me. We´ve made just a minorchange to the suspension, making the damping more ´free´, which gives morerefined feedback. We´ve also got a good pace on race tyres and I feelconfident. The crash was my mistake - a new front tyre, a full tank and Itransferred too much weight to the front entering a corner, so the frontfolded when I got off the brake.´

500cc, 2001

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