Czech Grand Prix, Brno Final Qualifying, Saturday August 25 2001 Marlboro Yamaha Men On First And Second Rows Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa will start tomorrow' s crucial Czech GP from the first and second rows of the...
Czech Grand Prix, Brno Final Qualifying, Saturday August 25 2001
Marlboro Yamaha Men On First And Second Rows
Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa will start tomorrow' s crucial Czech GP from the first and second rows of the grid after clocking the fastest and seventh fastest laps. Both men were well satisfied with their final day of qualifying in 30 degree heat and are looking forward to the race, round ten of this year's 16-race 500 World Championship.
Biaggi's stunning Friday lap proved invincible today, both for himself and his rivals, so the Italian will start from pole position tomorrow, alongside arch-title-rival Valentino Rossi (Honda) who closed to within two tenths of a second during the final moments of this afternoon's session.
"I knew Rossi would get close, everyone is always so close in 500s," said Marlboro Yamaha Team director Hiroya Atsumi. "But I am surprised how fast everyone is going, so much faster than last year, a lot of that is down to tyres and riders. Max didn't go quicker today, he worked at checking his machine and tyres for race-distance endurance. Carlos seems okay too. He made a little mistake this afternoon but came back well. I'm hoping they can both finish on the podium, just like Germany."
BIAGGI ON POLE FOR FOURTH TIME
Max Biaggi may not have been able to beat his Friday best today but the Marlboro Yamaha Team star believes he is in great shape for tomorrow's race which promises to be one of the most gruelling of the year. Biaggi is currently ten points adrift of series leader Valentino Rossi and a win here would considerably boost his World Championship hopes. Brno is a happy hunting ground for Biaggi, who's only been beaten once at the track in the past seven years.
"I knew my time would be hard to beat, I did my best but we had a small problem early in the session," explained Biaggi after his fourth pole of 2001. "Some oil got on to a footpeg and that made my foot slip off the 'peg, I almost crashed, it was a scary moment. That lost us ten minutes as we checked the bike over. After that I went out and put some laps on a few different tyres, so we've tried all the different options, now we just need to calculate which tyre will be the best for the race. We made a few small changes to the bike from yesterday, and I've a few other things I'd like to try in the warm-up. It's going to be a difficult race, I'll be doing everything I can to win."
CHECA MOVES UP TO SEVENTH
Carlos Checa slid off his Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR500 in the first few minutes of this afternoon's final qualifier but proved his mettle with a great recovery. The Spaniard later cut 0.631 seconds from his Friday best to move up one place to seventh and he's delighted with his machine set-up.
"We've improved the balance of the bike once again, so I'm very happy about that," said Checa. "Now when I go from brake to flick I'm getting much better feeling, and that's very important to me. We've made just a minor change to the suspension, making the damping more 'free', which gives more refined feedback. We've also got a good pace on race tyres and I feel confident. The crash was my mistake - a new front tyre, a full tank and I transferred too much weight to the front entering a corner, so the front folded when I got off the brake."
ROSSI CLOSES THE GAP
Valentino Rossi was way off the pace yesterday but came back well today to secure his first front-row start in three races. Seventh after first qualifying, a gaping 1.489 seconds off Biaggi's electrifying lap, Rossi closed that down to just 0.156 seconds this afternoon. But he's not convinced he has the best-possible race set-up. "We concentrated on getting some fast laps because it's very important to start from the front here," said Rossi, second fastest. "But we've not done so much work on our race set-up and we've got a lack of grip with race settings and race tyres. We'll work on that tonight and in the warm-up."
CAPIROSSI ON FRONT ROW
Loris Capirossi had to work hard to stay on the front row, ending the session just 0.328 seconds off Max Biaggi. "I didn't try 110 per cent as usual, the risk seemed too much," he said. "But we should be okay for the race, we've changed our way of working, concentrating on getting the bike to work well on a near-empty tank, because we've been struggling at the end of races."
1. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team 2'00.347 (Fri) 2'00.710 (Sat)
2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA 2'00.503
3. Loris Capirossi (ITA) West HONDA Pons 2'00.675
4. Jurgen vd Goorbergh (NED) Proton Team KR 2'00.949
7. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team 2'01.265