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Marlboro Yamaha men ready for island battle

Marlboro Yamaha men ready for island battle

Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa qualified first andseventh for tomorrow´s Australian GP, the pair declaring themselves good andready for what promises to be another ultra-close battle around thehigh-speed Phillip Island circuit.Biaggi was once again in breathtaking qualifying form, putting his YZR500 onpole with five minutes to go, while Checa´s attempts to join his team-mateon the front row were frustrated by a backmarker.´I think both riders are in good shape for tomorrow´s race,´ said MarlboroYamaha Team director Hiroya Atsumi. ´This is a very special circuit, theonly one of its kind in the world, so we´ve been working to get the correctsuspension settings and machine balance, both for the track and for the coolweather conditions. Max is on pole but the times are very close, so I thinkit´s going to be another very exciting race here. Carlos feels even betteron the bike than usual, I think he´ll be able to ride very hard tomorrow, it´s just unfortunate he couldn´t make the front row.´Today´s Phillip Island action was indeed fast and fraught, with Biaggiclocking the fastest-ever two-wheel lap here, and the quickest 15 riderscovered by just 1.109 seconds.BIAGGI´S SEVENTH POLE OF 2001Max Biaggi today maintained his reputation as the quickest man in 500 GPracing by scoring his seventh pole position of 2001, 0.424 seconds ahead ofValentino Rossi (Honda). The Marlboro Yamaha Team star has qualified on thefront row at 11 of the 14 GPs so far this year, and the last time he misseda front-row start was at Jerez in early May. Today´s pole was the 15th ofhis 500 career and his 48th in ten seasons of GP racing.´I feel like I´m on top and I´m confident for the race, but pole position isone thing, winning races is different,´ said the Italian who won here lastyear. ´We changed the set-up this morning, we´ve been working a lot on thefront, we found some chatter but fixed that and since then we´ve beenconcentrating on small adjustments. The feeling from the front end is nowmuch better so I feel confident. I think I can go fast tomorrow, hopefullyfast enough!´CHECA FAST BUT FRUSTRATEDCarlos Checa qualified seventh for tomorrow´s Australian GP, round 14 of the2001 World Championship, but reckons he should be on the front row. Theever-smiling Spaniard ended the day deeply frustrated because his quickestlap at the end of the session had been interrupted by a slower rider.´It wasn´t the rider´s fault, there just weren´t any blue flags to tell himto move over, I don´t know what the marshals are doing out there,´ said theMarlboro Yamaha Team rider who is brimming with confidence for the race.´That was very annoying but now I must focus on the race and make sure I geta good start from the second row. The bike is working well. We´ve improvedthe chassis set-up, I´m getting great feedback from the tyres and nochatter. I´m feeling confident for tomorrow, but we´ll just have to wait andsee what happens in the race.´

500cc, 2001

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