Japanese GP: Team Roberts race report

Kurtis Roberts had a short afternoon at today's Japanese GP, pulling in with tire problems on both of his Honda-powered Team Roberts KR212V hybrids on a day of changing weather at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The 15th round of the World ...

Kurtis Roberts had a short afternoon at today's Japanese GP, pulling in with tire problems on both of his Honda-powered Team Roberts KR212V hybrids on a day of changing weather at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The 15th round of the World Championship featured flag to flag racing, with riders starting the 24 lap race on rain tires before pitting to change motorcycles as a dry line developed on the track north of Tokyo. But from the very start, Roberts was in trouble. After passing five riders early on the first lap, he found a troubling lack of rear tire traction. Thinking it was oil on the tire, Roberts pulled into the pits to swap bikes. But his second motorcycle was fitted with cut slicks which he quickly discovered were inappropriate for the conditions. A lap spent trying to stay upright convinced the youngest son of the team owner to preserve himself and the motorcycle for the next race at Phillip Island, Australia in three weeks time.

KURTIS ROBERTS - DID NOT FINISH

I just got around about five guys in the first lap and then about four corners from the end of the lap all of a sudden the thing started coming around really badly. I could tell the thing was just skip-sliding across the asphalt. And it started doing it coming in and going out, like there was oil or something getting on the tire. I wanted to stay on the bike, but I didn't know what was wrong. We were on the hard rear rain tire and it didn't work at all. It looked like it was the soft. I just pulled in, because I didn't know what was going on. We tried the bike with cut slicks and there was no way it was it going to work that early in the race. I almost crashed every corner on the thing. It was just too wet to give the cut slicks a chance to work. It's unfortunate, because we could have had a good race I think. Typical luck this year.

CHUCK AKSLAND -- TEAM MANAGER

He got a good start, he was aggressive, he got by a couple of guys. Then he said that four or five corners in a row the thing was completely sideways. Bad enough to where he suspected an oil leak and pulled in. The other bike we had set up for cut slicks anticipating it would dry out. He went out on that; he just said he couldn't even lean it over. It was scary. It's a shame, because somebody missed the boat on that one. There were no mechanical problems with the first bike. We've been to Phillip Island down on horsepower before and still been able to achieve good lap times. The bike seems to be handling OK. I think every race we go to is down to what tires we get, really, what the choices will be, and what the conditions are.

credit: tr

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Kurtis Roberts , Phillip Island