16 years ago
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Telefonica Movistar Suzuki
Saturday, November 3, 2001 – Jacarepagua, Brazil: Team Telefónica MoviStar Suzuki riders Kenny Roberts Junior and Sete Gibernau were victims of unpredictable weather at today´s Rio GP, the last race of the 2001 season.In a race stopped by rain after four laps, and restarted for the remaining 20, the team gambled that the rain would continue, and sent both riders out on full wet tyres.Instead, against their private forecast, the rain stopped directly and the well-drained 4.933km Nelson Piquet circuit dried at once. Roberts and Gibernau were among several wrongly-shod riders condemned to cruising round at the back of the field. Gibernau finished 12th, in the points but one lap behind, with Roberts 16th, another lap adrift.It was a disappointment for both. Roberts had started from the front row of the grid and led the first and third laps. He was second by less than half-a-second on lap four, when the race was stopped. After the restart he realised at once he was in trouble, and pitted at the end of the first lap with the idea of changing tyres. Instead he went out again, cruising round in the hope of picking up points.Gibernau was ninth and moving forward on lap four. He fell on the next lap as the rain began, but was able to restart in any case. Like Roberts he was in trouble from the start; but without stopping he was able to claim four points, to make sure of a top-ten championship finish. He was ninth overall; defending champion Roberts was 11th.Today’s race, watched by an enthusiastic 40,000-strong crowd, was the last ever for the 500cc class. From next year, the premier category will be open also to 990cc four-strokes. The winner was 2001 champion Valentino Rossi.SETE GIBERNAU – 12th PositionI thought I had a good chance in the first race. I didn´t start too well, but I was catching up the leading group and feeling strong when it started to rain and they had to stop the race. In fact I crashed because of the rain, but I was able to make the restart. After that, the position was simple. We made a wrong choice of tyres, and that was it. It was obvious from the start, and all I could do was ride carefully and wait for the finish. Now we have to go home, and work hard to prepare for a better season next year.KENNY ROBERTS – 16th PositionWe simply made the wrong decision. We had advice from the weather people that it was going to carry on raining, and it was still wet and drizzly on the line for the restart. Until we actually left the line. It´s disappointing. I felt we would have done well here, given different circumstances. But in the end there were too many ifs.GARRY TAYLOR – Team ManagerWe took the same gamble on the same meteorological advice at Valencia – and there it worked. We finished first and third. This time, it went against us. That happens sometimes when you gamble. In fact we had Kenny´s spare bike ready on slicks in case he decided to change after the warm-up lap, but he stayed out there, and the die was cast.