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Roberts happy with Suzuki progress

Roberts happy with Suzuki progress

Roberts happy with Suzuki progress

Kenny Roberts revealed that he was happy with the progress being made by Team Suzuki but insisted that he was riding the same as he always had after clocking the fourth fastest time in the ultra-competitive ‘Official Practice' at Catalunya yesterday. The former World Champion slipped a couple of places when testing resumed after the televised session but remained just half a second off the quickest time of the day set by Valentino Rossi and was inside lap record pace. The American, who was using Bridgestone's ‘race' tyres, revealed the real reason behind his return to form and the optimism flooding through the team with just three weeks remaining before the start of the season.

"I'm riding just the same as always - as I did when I won the World Championship, but with a significant improvement in times," commented Roberts, who clocked 1'45.046. "We're getting better. It's come from little bits of everything - the factory's been working hard, and improved a lot of things. The engine response is the biggest improvement, going into the corners and coming out. That's the greatest reduction in lap time, even though we are still awaiting a revised engine with more horsepower.

"As far as the team goes, we have several new guys here, some at their first test with us, as well as Erv Kanemoto, and we've been doing a good job, keeping within ourselves. Garry Taylor has done a good job getting people in the right places. Erv is staring to learn the ins and outs of the motorcycle: what makes it work and what makes it not work. Having him certainly helped to get the bike more friendly. It's still the tip of the iceberg. We're still learning so much, and the bike is better every time we go out. We still need to improve acceleration and top speed.

"The Bridgestone tyres suit the bike very well, and I've been surprised by the durability and the feel. Everything looks very positive at the moment. The factory has shown a lot of flexibility to help us get what we need to improve our situation. This team deserves good finishes and good results. I hope we can start from here, getting better and better, so we can be competitive over full race distance".

MotoGP, 2004, Kurtis Roberts

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