Malaysian GP: Team Roberts Friday notes

ROBERTS FAST AGAIN ON FIRST DAY AT SEPANG Sepang, Malaysia - September 8, 2006: Two-times Malaysian GP winner Kenny Roberts Junior posted third-fastest time in today's free practice for Sunday's Malaysian GP, putting himself on target for a...

ROBERTS FAST AGAIN ON FIRST DAY AT SEPANG

Sepang, Malaysia - September 8, 2006: Two-times Malaysian GP winner Kenny Roberts Junior posted third-fastest time in today's free practice for Sunday's Malaysian GP, putting himself on target for a third successive front-row start, if he can maintain the position in tomorrow's hour-long qualifying session.

World Champion in 2000 and in his first season back with his father Kenny Roberts's team, Kenny Jr is continuing a strong run on the rapidly improving hybrid KR211V. The machine marries a V5 Honda engine with a Team Roberts chassis, built in England.

He posted a time of 2'02.563 round the 5.548km Sepang circuit, four tenths faster than the lap record. The fastest time was set by Loris Capirossi (Ducati) at 2'01.711.

The breakthrough for the machine, new this year, came with chassis revisions seven races ago. Since that Italian GP, Roberts has qualified on the front row three times and taken a best finish of third at Catalunya, has twice been fourth and twice fifth

The project is still under development, with the team testing yet another new chassis here today. That worked well, but in fact Kenny Junior's best time, late in the hour-long session came on the older version of the second-generation bike.

The Malaysian GP is the 12th of 17 races.

KENNY ROBERTS JR. - Third Position, 2'02.170
We had a good first run with the newest chassis today. We actually changed the chassis between sessions today. The guys actually did it in an hour and 15 minutes - so they've either been sandbagging all year, or they worked to the maximum!

The session was as normal. We had my bike from the last race. Everything was going okay and we tried a few tyres. Then we tried the new chassis, and that was better yet. We didn't expect it to be like that right away, so we had my other bike ready. With 15 minutes to go we changed everything over to the old bike, and I set my time on that bike. I think I could have gone a bit quicker but there was some traffic on the last lap.

It's not that this is a good track for me. The Honda-Michelin combination, with Ohlins and the team, then everything should be good. With a great motor and great tyres, you shouldn't have bad tracks. It should be good everywhere.

KENNY ROBERTS - Team Owner
We're trying different chassis today, and that was encouraging. We have two new ones, with a different construction, fabricated rather than machined, all with different tweaks. We are still chasing things down. In the end he went back to the Catalunya bike, and that was the fastest. I think we'll probably stick with that one.

-credit: team roberts

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Series MotoGP