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Cruel luck rules out Kurtis

Cruel luck rules out Kurtis

Cruel luck rules out Kurtis

Kurtis Roberts suffered cruel luck in the final qualifying practice for the Gauloises Grand Prix Ceske Republiky, picking up left elbow and wrist fractures in a crash which has effectively ruled him out of Sunday's race. It means Roberts is denied the pleasure of starting ahead of his elder brother Kenny for the first time, after setting his best qualifying performance so far and the best grid position for any rider on the Proton V5.

"It was wetter than yesterday and I was trying to take it easy but I had no grip," explained Roberts, who had qualified sixth fastest yesterday. "I kept losing the rear, both into and out of the turns. Then on one lap, on the way into a turn, it went all the way to the steering lock stops, flicked me off the high side and I got beat up.

"We need some improvement in grip - there was no explanation of why it happened. The telemetry showed I was actually a little slower there than on the previous two laps."

Roberts' team-mate Nobuatsu Aoki also crashed on a miserable day for the team, although the Japanese rider escaped with painful bruising and should start. "It was raining pretty hard when I fell, but at that time the chassis and the tyres felt okay," he explained. "I thought I could push pretty hard, but it was not the right time.

"I lost rear grip on a low-speed corner and went over the high side. I've bruised my left thumb and my right knee, but though it's sore I should be able to carry on tomorrow."

"It was a bad day for us," admitted Team Manager Chuck Aksland. "We couldn't get near the same traction combination that we found for Kurtis yesterday, so we're struggling a bit.

"Kurtis looked pretty sore, and we had him checked out. He has a couple of small fractures, so he won't be fit to race tomorrow. The bikes were running consistently, though, and the engines seem okay. We'll try and maximise our handling for the race tomorrow."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, GAULOISES GRAND PRIX ČESKÉ REPUBLIKY, QP2

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