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Marlboro Yamaha

Marlboro Yamaha

Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi were fourth andseventh fastest in this afternoon´s opening qualifying session at windsweptPhillip Island.

The venue´s ever-changing early spring weather dominated the day,though conditions for the qualifier were at least better than they´d been inthe morning when fierce winds and driving rain made riding particularlytreacherous.

´In these kinds of conditions a lot of it has to do with which riderswant to risk more,´ said Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust. ´It isrisky out there but with more showers forecast for tomorrow, everyone wantsto try and get in the best-possible lap. At the start of the session therewas a river of water running across the track at turn three and that hadonly just about gone by the end, so the riders were having to stick to anarrow line. Like pretty much everyone our guys started the session with wetfront tyres, then switched to slicks after a couple of laps.´


Carlos Checa was second quickest during much of the latter stages of today´ssession, ending the outing fourth for a provisional front-row start. Withmore rain forecast for the weekend, the Marlboro Yamaha Team man´s mainconcern was getting as close to the front as possible, in case tomorrow´sfinal qualifier is a washout.

´It´s very windy out there but you´ve got to try and get used to it,´he said. ´It´s bad everywhere, but I´d say it´s worse through turns one,three and five. Turn one is scary because you´re riding through there atover 200kmh and a gust of wind could cause you major problems. We´refocusing on trying to help the bike in these conditions, adjusting theset-up to keep the front wheel on the ground, because you really get intotrouble when the wind takes the front away from you. But there are othercorners where the wind is blowing the other way, so the wind actually helpsyou steer into the turns!´


Max Biaggi took his time to adjust to the perilous conditions, getting up tospeed in the final stages when he was challenging for a spot on theprovisional front row. Fourth quickest just a few minutes from the end ofthe session, the Marlboro Yamaha Team man was bumped down to seventh at thevery end.

´The wind was a big problem and I didn´t like it much, it was sostrong, especially at the first turn,´ said the Italian. ´It stopped usdoing much work on set-up, so we must work more on the settings tomorrow.The wind always lifts the front end and that´s something we must try andfix, just in case it´s windy again tomorrow. Also, we started today´ssession with a wet set-up, which wasn´t so good once the track was dry.´

500cc, 2001

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