Catalunya GP Shell Advance Team qualifying reports

Barcelona 500 CC Grand Prix Final Qualifying, 16 June Chris Walker's Rides Through The Pain Barrier Shell Advance Honda rider Chris Walker qualified seventeenth for tomorrow's race as he ignored the throbbing pain from his injured right arm...

Barcelona 500 CC Grand Prix
Final Qualifying, 16 June

Chris Walker's Rides Through The Pain Barrier

Shell Advance Honda rider Chris Walker qualified seventeenth for tomorrow's race as he ignored the throbbing pain from his injured right arm and foot.

Despite painkillers, Walker said his severely bruised arm felt uncomfortable following his lucky escape in yesterday's pile-up when he was run over by Johan Stigefelt.

After suspension adjustments improved the steering of his Honda through the fast corners Walker felt his improved lap times in qualifying were a positive indication for tomorrow's race.

However Walker was disappointed to again tumble from his Shell Honda when he lost the front end into turn one at the end of the 300kph main straight which meant he was unable to further improve his times.

Battered and bruised Walker intends to take his place in tomorrow's race at the Circuit Catalunya where he is racing at for the first time.

Valentino Rossi (Honda) qualified on pole position.

CHRIS WALKER: 17th place 1m 47.860s

"It's frustrating and that's showing through a little more than it normally does because of the pain in my arm, it feels awkward when I'm riding even with the pain killers.

"We have made some good improvements from Friday especially with the steering in fast corners which allows me to carry more corner speed although in the slower corners the agility is still not there. It seems that as soon as I think I can push a bit faster I lose the front and crash. I'll need binoculars to see the front starting from the fifth row but I'll be there for the race."

1st Qualifying, 15 June

Chris Walker'S Amazing Barcelona Escape

Shell Advance Honda rider Chris Walker was lucky to escape serious injury when he was run over by Johan Stigefelt's Sabre V4 in the final stages of first qualifying.

Walker suffered severe bruising and swelling to both his right arm and foot in the crash which occurred at the chicane immediately after turn one.

Walker high-sided his factory Shell Honda and as he crashed to the track Stigefelt, following closely behind, was unable to take avoiding action. Walker was looking for a good time on a new tyre and had just passed Stigefelt on the main straight prior to the crash.

Despite being battered and bruised Walker said he expects to be able to ride in Sunday's race. Earlier Walker's teammate Leon Haslam had been ruled out of the Catalunya GP as he continues to recover from a left wrist fracture.

Walker's Honda has been fitted with a thumb operated rear brake that he felt helped him more effectively control the turn-in to corners.

CHRIS WALKER: 16th place 1m 48.311s

"I was out on a softer tyre and looking for a time and didn't want to get stuck behind Stigefelt. I got on the gas just before I flicked left in the chicane and the rear spun up, I saw the front number plate and that was it. I slammed the track really hard with my foot and then Stigefelt ran over my arm and ripped my leathers open.

"I have been struggling with rear grip most of the season and when it lets go it happens pretty fast. My arm really aches, and if you saw it you would swear it was broken, but I knew it wasn't broken when I got up from the crash. The only problem was I did it in front of one of the biggest "Stalker" banners I've ever seen."

"I'm definitely going to try and ride on Saturday even if I need some pain killers. The doctors say nothing is broken in my foot although there are some old fractures there from previous crashes."

-SAHT-

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