SEARCH FOR GRIP KEEPS KURTIS GUESSING Kurtis Roberts will start tomorrow's Australian GP from the seventh row of the grid, after placing 19th in qualifying, run in the only fully dry hour at the weather-hit event at this scenic seaside ...
SEARCH FOR GRIP KEEPS KURTIS GUESSING
Kurtis Roberts will start tomorrow's Australian GP from the seventh row of the grid, after placing 19th in qualifying, run in the only fully dry hour at the weather-hit event at this scenic seaside circuit.
Cold conditions, strong winds and frequent rain showers have made two days of practice fraught, conditions changing sometimes from one lap to the next. The final qualifying hour was dry, but run in a brisk 16 degrees with track temperature at only 24 degrees.
For Kurtis Roberts, riding the England-made Honda-powered hybrid for his father Kenny's race team, the rain made a hard job even harder. The second son of a legend is returning to the fast and challenging circuit after an absence of ten years, and had plenty of relearning to do. This is the 16th of 18 rounds in a season that has been difficult for the only independent constructor in MotoGP -awaiting upgrades to the engine at the same time as developing their own unique chassis, with just one rider.
More rain in the race may help Kurtis's chance of adding to his points score, but he generously turned his back on the chance, preferring safer dry conditions for all.
Spanish factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa qualified on pole, from Yamaha's Valentino Rossi and new World Champion Casey Stoner (Ducati).
KURTIS ROBERTS - 19th Position, 1:32.948
I haven't been here in ten years so I don't know if it's the lines I'm choosing, but getting the thing to hook up and move forward is not going well, that's plain. The thing is moving around all over the place. The big slides look cool on TV, but looking cool and going fast are different things unfortunately, right now.
Things are slowly moving forward, but it hasn't been the easiest weekend to come to grips with the thing, with the changing weather. If it rains for the race, it'll help us, but I just want it to be a safe weekend for everybody. It was almost like it was hailing here yesterday. I've said all year, it's not a good thing to have to want it to rain. I have to work harder, and we all have to work to get the thing to go round the race-track better in normal conditions.
CHUCK AKSLAND - Team Manager
We're struggling for grip, definitely. Yesterday was an up-and-down day with the weather conditions - same for everybody, but we struggled with the rain tyre, and with dry tyres we're struggling for grip. Even the qualifier didn't have grip for the full lap. We need to find where the problem is in that area, whether it is the tyre or the bike. When we do add grip with qualifiers, the bike starts behaving normally, for as long as the qualifiers hold out. We have to find an improvement somewhere, see what tomorrow brings, and I'm sure Kurtis will give us his best.