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West Honda Pons

West Honda Pons

Even though rain was expected and feared following bad weather forecasts, the sun kept shining all day over the Ricardo Tormo circuit, and the riders who were fighting for grid positions for the Valencia Grand Prix, were battling with hot temperatures, too. It was a good first day of practice for Tohru Ukawa, who took fifth place in a very competitive and close first timed session. Ukawa, who was seventh this morning, cut one second off his best time in the free practice. His team-mate Alex Crivillé didn´t get such a good start into the weekend, suffering a crash just a few minutes after the start of the first free practice session. Down in 15th place in the morning, Alex managed to improve his best time by a little more than a second in the afternoon, but the times in the classification were so close, with the top 14 riders separated by hardly one second, that he couldn´t climb higher than to 13th spot in the afternoon. Despite the result, Crivillé remains confident to get a good grid position tomorrow, and to fight for the podium on Sunday.

´I´m happy because we completed good practice sessions today, but we are still three tenths of a second down on Rossi´s best time. The test session that we had here at the beginning of the month was very useful for us, because we arrived at this circuit with a good base to start off from. We hardly had to make any adjustments, just minimal touch-ups, on the setting of the motorcycle. We are almost sure about our choice, too, so all in all we put a nicely balanced package together. Tomorrow, we´ll fine-tune it a bit more, but without going far away from today´s set-up. I achieved my best times today with the tyres that I´ll probably use in the race, not with a softer compound.´

´This morning, I had a light crash at the beginning of the session, and this made me lose confidence in the front end of the bike. I didn´t achieve a good feeling on the bike all day, and for tomorrow we´ve decided to go out with two bikes that are set in a totally different way, so I can try to find my confidence again. Tomorrow, we will concentrate on changes of the suspension, on changes of the balance of the bike, and on the search for a set-up that allows me to ride comfortably like I did in the beginning of the month. I know that I can ride a good race on this circuit, therefore we´ll continue to try things and to look for a good set-up. I am one second off the best time of Valentino Rossi, and I´m determined to push very hard tomorrow.´

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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