ROBERTS FRUSTRATED IN THE JAPANESE SUN Kurtis Roberts struggled in the blistering sunshine of final qualifying for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix on the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit, a track that doesn't suit the Honda-powered KR212V hybrid. Lacking...
ROBERTS FRUSTRATED IN THE JAPANESE SUN
Kurtis Roberts struggled in the blistering sunshine of final qualifying for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix on the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit, a track that doesn't suit the Honda-powered KR212V hybrid. Lacking the acceleration needed for the track's many slow corners, Roberts qualified 21st for Sunday's fifteenth round of the MotoGP World Championship.
Though he qualified on the back row of the grid, it wasn't for lack of effort. The youngest son of the three-time 500cc World Champion and team owner crashed in the morning practice entering turn five. Roberts found early in the weekend that the lack of acceleration was problematic and he was keenly aggressive on the brakes. But his aggression ended up putting him on the ground.
"Just trying too hard and lost the front on the brakes," he said. "Still on the brakes on my knee and lost the front in turn five. Youknow you can't go any faster, but you're trying to and that's when you know it's going to happen. We're not going to make up any time anywhere else. We definitely aren't going to make anything up under acceleration or on top speed. So where else are you going to make it up on this track?"
Rather than de-tune him, the crash inspired Roberts to try harder in qualifying. Try as he might, he couldn't significantly improve his time throughout the one hour session.
The Japanese GP is the first of three flyaways, with the MotoGP circus enjoying a break afterward before moving on to Australia and Malaysia. The final round is at Valencia.
KURTIS ROBERTS - 21st Position, 1:50.035
The nature of the track's killing us, because it's all these places where the bike's got to accelerate. Even the not stop-and-go stuff, it's still low in the powerband, unless it's revving it's guts out. It's got to have a torque curve and we don't have one compared to everyone else's. We knew how the session was going to go before the session started. It's just getting past the point of frustration, but we're here because it's not like you can sit here and say they're working on it, they're working on it, they're working on it. For us, this is completely not against any part of the team, because we're all working our butts off.
CHUCK AKSLAND-TEAM MANAGER
It's no fun to be at the bottom of the time sheets, that's for sure. The guys aren't working any less hard than they did last year when we were at the top. It's just very frustrating and a very difficult weekend. We'll go out and do our best tomorrow. Kurtis's feedback is the bike's working great, corner speed's good, he catches people on the brakes, we're just lacking acceleration. And no matter how fast you make the motorcycle go around the corner, we can't make up for that acceleration.
-credit: team roberts