Final Qualifying, Friday October 6 2000 POLE AND THIRD FOR MARLBORO YAMAHA Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa took pole and third place in today's thrilling final qualifying session at Jacarepagua, Brazil. The pair worked ...
Final Qualifying, Friday October 6 2000
POLE AND THIRD FOR MARLBORO YAMAHA
Marlboro Yamaha Team duo Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa took pole and third place in today's thrilling final qualifying session at Jacarepagua, Brazil. The pair worked steadily towards their eventual domination in humid conditions, with rain always threatening. Local star Alex Barros (Honda) is second on the grid and Valentino Rossi (Honda) completes the front row. Running a baseline set-up from the Marlboro Yamaha Team's comprehensive test session at Valencia last month, the duo are running strong and the team is confident that whatever the conditions, they can take the race to their rivals tomorrow. "Our guys did a great job," said Masahiko Nakajima, Yamaha Grand Prix manager. "All the team's hard work has paid off. Our set-up from Valencia worked well and the riders' concentration on the job was excellent. We're confident in the race set-up although the weather is still the key. Both riders have a good wet set-up too and I'm really looking forward to great competition tomorrow."
BIAGGI BAGS POLE POSITION
Marlboro Yamaha Team star Max Biaggi snatched pole position with four minutes of today's final qualifying session to go. The Italian maestro made clever use of his qualifying tyres to put in his quickest lap only when he was totally happy with his set-up. Working steadily towards his time throughout the uncertain weather conditions this weekend, he is in good shape to capitalise on his fourth pole of the year.
"I'm very satisfied," said a delighted Biaggi. "We made a big change to the bike for this afternoon in terms of overall balance. It was immediately much better giving me a much more stable base. I knew it was going to be good and when we put on a qualifying tyre, it worked really well. Qualifying tyres make for a very exciting last ten minutes. It's great to be on pole, but you don't get any points for it. I'm feeling very positive for the race."
CHECA A STRONG THIRD
Marlboro Yamaha Team rider Carlos Checa starts from the front row of the grid for the sixth time this year after a strong and consistent ride to third fastest. The Spanish charger is in good form, confident that he can run at the front and sure that he can lap consistently in the region of 1m 52s tomorrow. "This is good," said a satisfied Checa. "I feel good with the bike. The front row is important here and the way the engine is working so well means we are in a really good position for the race. I don't really like qualifying tyres and with about 20 minutes to go, I came in and we put on a race tyre. I did a 1m 51.8s with it and I know I can run those times in the race. If it rains tomorrow, then it rains, but we are in good shape whatever happens."
BARROS MISSES POLE
Home-boy Alex Barros (Honda) missed out on pole by two tenths of a second, after leading yesterday's opening session. But the Brazilian star is confident for tomorrow's race "It was very competitive out there and when I saw Biaggi's time I knew it'd be difficult to beat," he said. "My bike is working well though, everything is good. We did some work on tyre endurance today and I'm happy with my overall race set-up. I love racing here at home, it's a positive thing for me, I just hope I can win for the fans."
ROSSI CUTS ROBERTS A DEAL
Valentino Rossi (Honda) still has an outside chance of winning this year's 500 World Championship but believes series leader Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) will be crowned champ tomorrow. "For sure, I think Kenny will be World Champion," said Rossi. "I'm happy about that, he's been very fast this year. Of course, it's better if I win it, but it's okay for Kenny to win. I have an offer for him: I win the race tomorrow and he can win the championship!" This is Rossi's first year in 500s, and he obviously has his eyes on the 2001 crown; he won the both 125 and 250 titles at his second attempts. Roberts, meanwhile, had a more difficult day and ended up seventh, his worst grid slot of the year. Though he has another two races after Rio, he can win the title tomorrow by finishing anywhere in the top six.