British Grand Prix, Donington Park First Qualifying, Friday July 12 2002 MARLBORO YAMAHA UP FRONT DESPITE TUMBLES Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa were third and fifth quickest respectively in this afternoon's ...
British Grand Prix, Donington Park
First Qualifying, Friday July 12 2002
MARLBORO YAMAHA UP FRONT DESPITE TUMBLES
Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa were third and fifth quickest respectively in this afternoon's opening British GP qualifying session. Both men tumbled during the day's two crash-strewn sessions but suffered no ill effects, unlike Honda teamsters Valentino Rossi and Tohru Ukawa who missed qualifying after falling foul of the slippery Donington circuit this morning. Two-stroke Honda rider Alex Barros topped the afternoon session.
"We've seen this at several races - the two-strokes lead on day one because they've a lot of experience at all the tracks, while the four-stroke teams work on basic bike set-up because the four-strokes haven't seen most of the tracks," said Marlboro Yamaha Team director Davide Brivio. "But so far things aren't so bad. We have work to do because this is a very unusual track with one very fast section and one very slow section, so the compromise required is bigger than at most circuits. The track's characteristics are also quite good for the two-strokes. Thankfully our guys were okay after their falls, we just hope both Honda riders are fit to ride as soon as possible."
BIAGGI BOUNCES BACK TO THIRD
Max Biaggi ended this afternoon's opening qualifying third quickest, just 0.320 seconds off provisional pole position, an impressive recovery from his spill on new tyres at Goddards hairpin this morning. The Marlboro Yamaha Team rider is working hard at finding the best-possible settings compromise for this contrasting track, and is praying for the weather to stay dry over the next two days.
"This morning's session was a little complicated as I fell, the crash was a bit of a strange one because I was going pretty slow," said the Italian, who finished second here on his YZR500 last year. "But we changed our suspension set-up for this afternoon and I was able to lap a second and a half faster, which suggests that we're moving in the right direction. We still need to make some further improvements, and if we can keep doing the right thing, I'm sure we can have a pretty good race here. I just hope the rain stays away - it's terrible when the weather is wet, dry, wet, dry."
CHECA FIFTH ON SECOND BIKE
Carlos Checa had his tumble at the off-camber Goddards in the first few minutes of this afternoon's session and although he was unharmed in the slow-speed off, his number-one M1 was damaged enough to keep him off it for the rest of the session. The Marlboro Yamaha Team rider was therefore consigned to riding his second machine which didn't give him the feeling he needed to challenge for provisional pole.
"The crash was my mistake, the front-end set-up was a little too soft and I lost the front turning into the corner," said the Spaniard. "My other bike had different specs, so I couldn't really get comfortable with it. To try and improve things, we made a lot of changes, maybe too many, but however hard I tried, I couldn't get the times I was aiming for. No problem though, so long as it stays dry we should be able to do a good job tomorrow."
ROSSI OUT, BARROS FASTEST
World Championship leader Valentino Rossi had a nasty highside at Goddards this morning, suffering concussion and a cracked left thumb. The accident ruled him out of today's qualifier but he should be back in action tomorrow. Ukawa suffered no broken bones but was badly battered and bruised.
Meanwhile on-form Alex Barros (Honda), who harried Rossi at Assen two weeks back, won a hectic battle for provisional pole with Kenny Roberts (Suzuki) and Max Biaggi. "I feel confident after Assen," said the Brazilian. "We had a good chance to win there, but not quite good enough, and maybe we have a good chance here. I aim to make the most of this, because there's not many tracks where we can run with the four-strokes."
PROVISIONAL FRONT ROW
1. Alex Barros (BRA) West HONDA Pons (NSR500) 1'31.877
2. Kenny Roberts (USA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI (GSV-R) 1'32.123
3. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team (YZR-M1) 1'32.197
4. John Hopkins (USA) Red Bull YAMAHA WCM (YZR500) 1'32.523
5. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team (YZR-M1) 1'32.541