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Telefonica Movistar Suzuki : Champion Roberts back on top at Motegi

Telefonica Movistar Suzuki : Champion Roberts back on top at Motegi

Team Telefónica MoviStar Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts put his champion´s Number One plate back where it belongs in the first day of qualifying for Sunday´s Pacific GP, claiming provisional pole position with a lap time less than four tenths off the lap record, in spite of cool track conditions.

Team-mate Sete Gibernau was seventh, with a second-row position, but high hopes of more to come, two weeks after his own maiden GP victory at Valencia.

Wild card entry Yukio Kagayama, back on a two-stroke for the first time in two years, spent the day working hard to try to arrive at base settings on the unfamiliar machine, and ended up 19th overall, but also confident of further improvements tomorrow.

The afternoon timed session, first of two before Sunday´s race, took place in dry conditions after rain in the morning free training.

KENNY ROBERTS - First Position, 1:50.944

It´s no secret that I have not been comfortable with the bike for some time. It´s shown in qualifying and race results - I should be in the top three consistently. Valencia is a track where we get a lot of feedback, and certain problems I´ve felt all year were massively increased there. We sat down afterwards, and I asked Suzuki for a couple of things that would take us back to a point earlier in the season, when we decided to take a certain development direction. They brought some stuff here, and it has improved my feel for the bike - as you can see from my position. The other guys will catch up. We need to go a second faster tomorrow and in the race. But even if we don´t keep this position, it´s given us some answers and we´ve been able to pinpoint some problems. In a perfect world, we should be able to go forward from here - but this is motorcycle racing, so it is not always so easy.

SETE GIBERNAU - Seventh Position, 1:51.938

This is my first time here on the Suzuki, so the rain this morning didn´t really help me. Losing one hour makes the job harder - you need to find the right set up, as well as trying to do a good lap time. but I think we have found a good line for some changes for tomorrow. The whole team is pumped after the win in Valencia, and I think I rode pretty good today. We´re not so far from the top guys. Tomorrow I hope we will have a better basis to start with, and we can improve from there.

YUKIO KAGAYAMA - 19th Position, 1:54.367

This is one of my favourite tracks on a Superbike - I was second here earlier this season. The only difficulty is that I have not ridden a GP two-stroke for two years, and have had no testing to get used to it. It´s not a problem. I have plenty of experience of both types. The shortage of time means it is not so easy - there are so many things to do. Today I wasn´t able to arrive at the right tyre, suspension, chassis height or other settings. But we have found a direction, and tomorrow I will be able to make a better time attack.

500cc, 2001

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