Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase



Team Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki riders Sete Gibernau and Kenny Roberts placed seventh and 11th in today´s first timed qualifying session for Sunday´s Portuguese GP, retaining the second and third-row grid positions they earned yesterday.

Both riders improved on their Friday lap times, with Gibernau cutting eight tenths of a second off his previous best to move up one place overall, while Roberts went better than half-a-second faster. But both had hoped for more, after placing third and seventh respectively in the morning free training. Blazing 33-degree heat took the blame for a mysterious drop-off in engine performance, robbing the riders of crucial throttle control.

The Suzuki riders are running different engine firing orders: Gibernau has stuck with the 180-degree crankshaft configuration that was returned to service at the Czech Republic GP two weeks ago after being in abeyance for some years; Roberts has reverted to the 90-degree crankshaft that he has used since joining the team in 1999.

Pole position went to Italian rider Max Biaggi, currently second overall in the points standings.

SETE GIBERNAU : Seventh Position, 1:40.713

To look on the positive side, things were looking good this morning, when I was third fastest. The bike was really not bad. This afternoon, in the heat, the engine lost power and throttle response. It was not a big loss, but it was enough to make a lot of difference to how I could ride it. On a rolling, fluid track it would be no problem, but here it is very stop-and-go, and I´m suffering as a result. For tomorrow, we´ll be trying to find a way to let the engine run a bit cooler and I´ll be trying my hardest, as usual

KENNY ROBERTS : Eleventh Position, 1:40.969As I said yesterday, I´m just not comfortable with the bike. I had thought this was one track where the Suzuki might work well, because I was able to do mid-40 lap times in tests before the season, on the 2000 bike. Now I´m again feeling the problems I had earlier with the 2001 chassis. We´ve removed the stuff we tried at Mugello and Brno, because this is a completely different circuit. Right now, I have no room for error. I´m on the limit … but at the wrong lap time.

STUART SHENTON : Sete Gibernau´s Race Engineer

The engine was very satisfactory this morning, but in the afternoon it had become very difficult to ride. It´s mainly a question of poor throttle control, as the rider loads up the tyres. We´re investigating now, but it seems likely it´s a result of the extra heat, and we will have to try to find a way to get the engine to run a bit cooler if the weather tomorrow is as hot as it is this afternoon.

125cc, 2001, Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal, FP1

Other updates you may be interested in ›