ROBERTS ENCOURAGED BY LATE SESSION PROGRESS
Kurtis Roberts, riding in only fifth MotoGP event since returning mid-season, qualified 19th for Sunday's German Grand Prix, though he was encouraged by progress the team made with the front end of the Team Roberts KR212V late in the session.
Roberts, who is substituting for his older brother Kenny, set the time with his next to last lap, as he found new confidence in the front end. Instead of chattering, the front tire gave renewed adhesion and allowed the youngest son of the three-time 500cc World Champion to discover new lines on his best lap of the tortuous 2.28-mile Sachsenring, in the former East German state of Saxony. If the solution can be confirmed in the Sunday morning warm-up, Roberts is hopeful of moving up through the field.
The race will likely be the last for this iteration of the Team Roberts framed, Honda-powered hybrid. Technicians at the team's headquarters in Banbury, England have been working furiously to have a new race bike ready for the Roberts' family home grand prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna
Seca in a week's time. If the chassis, exhaust pipes, and other parts are completed in time, team manager Chuck Aksland will take them as checked luggage to Monterey.
Today's qualifying session was run in warm sunshine, with more of the same expected for tomorrow's race, the 10th round of the MotoGP World Championship.
KURTIS ROBERTS - 19th Position, 1:24.209
"Once we got a front tire that worked, it cured a lot of the handling problems. It's been real frustrating here all weekend, because we just keep going around in circles. And when the guys are out there watching, they're seeing the same thing I'm saying. They're confirming it. It's the same thing Kenny Jr. was complaining about, it's the same thing I've complained about from day one. It's just trying to get it out of it. And normally, every time we throw in a front qualifier, it's just chattered it's brains out. Today, the second corner, I realized this is what the bike needs to do the whole lap. And it did that for two laps. Actually, if I would have been able to get used to it, if the thing would have done it for half a session, then I would have known what lines to take. Now I'm off on some lines, because the thing would actually turn in where I wanted to and the next thing you know you'd be going too slow or too fast. If we can get the thing to work like we did at the end of the session, we can race with those guys. If we can't, it's just going to be a lonely boring race."
CHUCK AKSLAND - TEAM MANAGER
"Once we got grip into it, the bike started behaving right. So hopefully some of the stuff that we're bringing to Laguna will increase the grip level or help the set-up for the bike turning back. I'd say, given what we have, Kurtis did a good job. The plan for Laguna Seca is that I'm leaving England last so I can bring everything. It won't be a whole bike but not far from it; frame, exhaust pipes and other parts. But it's all right down to the last minute. So hopefully I'll be bringing a big ole box with me. The plan is for the bike to get built on Thursday."