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Tough weekend for Ruben Xaus

Tough weekend for Ruben Xaus

Tough weekend for Ruben Xaus

The Grande Premio Marlboro de Portugal proved to be something of an anti-climax for Ruben Xaus, who began his first visit to the Estoril circuit in positive fashion but saw his weekend deteriorate due to a series of mechanical problems. After an encouraging opening session on Friday, Xaus had high hopes that he could return to his best form in front of massive Spanish support.

"This is a new circuit for me and that always means it is harder to adapt," commented Xaus after finishing sixteenth fastest the first qualifying session. "In the afternoon things went better than in the free practice. I had a few problems with the brakes because we haven't made a final decision yet and here that's fundamental because you brake from 330Km/h down to 70 Km/ h on the straight.

"I didn't use qualifying tyres today because I didn't think I could have done them justice, so tomorrow we will have to sort this out and improve, and I'm the first to recognise that. I like the track, it's a bit different, and you need to get the set-up spot on."

However, things didn't go to plan on Saturday and Xaus ended up losing two places on the grid, dropping to the sixth row in eighteenth place. "I'm a little frustrated because we had a few technical hitches and I spent a lot of time in the pit garage," explained Xaus at the end of the session.

"I couldn't do that much because you lose your concentration a bit after that and when I finally got out and tried to set a good time, there was a lot of traffic on the track, and it was impossible to get a good lap in. I was very hopeful before this session and that hope still remains for tomorrow."

Things looked to be on the up on race day as the team worked to solve the set-up problems in the morning warm-up and gave Xaus a setting he felt comfortable with for the race. The Spaniard made a typical charge forward and was up to tenth place but his frustrating weekend was complete when he was forced to retire with just ten laps to go.

"The day started badly because even in the warm-up I wasn't comfortable at all, but for the race we got the bike pretty good and it felt right," he said afterwards. "I was in a decent position, I had a good rhythm and I improved my times from the whole weekend.

"I was riding constantly better although I did make a few slight errors getting used to the new front brake we were using today for the first time.

"Around lap 18 I noted some problems in the rear wheel and I carried on for four laps but I was unable to finish. I had to retire against all my wishes because I was determined to finish the race here today however I managed it, score points and show that Rubén Xaus is back."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, GRANDE PREMIO MARLBORO DE PORTUGAL

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