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Valencia winner Gibernau wins front row start

Valencia winner Gibernau wins front row start

Team Telefónica MoviStar Suzuki rider Sete Gibernau will start tomorrow´s Australian GP from the front row of the grid, after a scorching end-of-session lap lifted the Valencia GP winner up among the very fastest riders at the fast and picturesque Phillip Island track.

Team-mate Kenny Roberts – defending World Champion, and Phillip Island lap record holder – was out of luck. His own banzai lap in the closing stages of a hectic dry final session was spoiled by a brief off-track excursion, and he remained 12th fastest, for a third-row start.

Both morning and afternoon sessions were dry today, though still cool and overcast, with a fresh breeze. Conditions were nonetheless much better than yesterday, when rain in the morning and near gale-force winds in the afternoon make for a difficult first day at the sweeping circuit, where average speeds of more than 174km/h make it one of the fastest tracks on the calendar.

Tomorrow´s race, 14th of 16 on the 2001 calendar, is the middle one of three flyaway rounds. Last week, the GP circus was in Japan, and next weekend in Malaysia, before the season finale two weeks after that in Rio de Janeiro.

SETE GIBERNAU – Fourth Position, 1:32.473

I rode absolutely to my limits to get that time, and basically that´s it. A couple of the other guys are still ahead of us bike-wise. but I don´t think anybody is ahead in terms of riding. The team also did an awesome job. I think it´s difficult to do better with what we´ve got. Now I have a good pace, and I know what tyres I need. I am on the front row, so I should find it a bit easier to get a good start, then once again ride the bike to the absolute maximum.

KENNY ROBERTS – 12th Position, 1:32.963

Qualifying basically comes down to one lap now, and on my fast lap I ran off the edge of the track and the wheel spun up a bit. That´s your one chance gone. If you look at the times, they´re all pretty close. I don´t think we have a bike good enough for the top three, but I think we have a better bike than the qualifying position it got. Set-up wise, the bike´s not doing some things I´d like it to do, though it´s not bad if I get behind someone and just close my eyes. I hope to make some changes tomorrow that will help the stability for the tyres, and go from there.

GARRY TAYLOR – Team Manager

That must have been an exciting lap for Sete, and he did a great job to put the Suzuki on the front row. Of course we´d prefer Kenny to be higher, but he´s shown at every race this year that he knows how to get off the line fast, so maybe the third row is not too bad. Especially considering how close the times are. We certainly haven´t given our riders an easy job this weekend, but both of them have shown the sort of commitment we know we can always expect, and they´ll do the same in the race tomorrow.

500cc, 2001

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