US GP: Team Roberts race report

NO GLORY IN HOME GRAND PRIX Monterey, California: Kurtis Roberts failed to finish him home grand prix when teething problems hit the brand new Team Roberts KR212V which was making its debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In only six short...

NO GLORY IN HOME GRAND PRIX

Monterey, California: Kurtis Roberts failed to finish him home grand prix when teething problems hit the brand new Team Roberts KR212V which was making its debut at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In only six short weeks, Team Roberts designed, manufactured, and built a second generation KR212V. There were 210 new parts, 54 of which were manufactured at the team's headquarters in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Many of the parts, including the chassis, were brought as luggage to the circuit in the hills of Monterey, the site of many of team owner Kenny Roberts' greatest triumphs, both as a rider and team owner. >From the minute he first hit the track, Kurtis immediately felt an improvement with front end feel. He continued to make progress throughout the practice and qualifying and was hopeful of finishing well into the points in Sunday's race, held in brilliant sunshine before a crowd of 51,000. But soon into the race the motor began to signal problems and Kurtis was forced to withdraw on the sixth lap. Today's race, round 32 laps of the 3.610 km Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, was won by championship leader Casey Stoner (Ducati) from Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) and Marco Melandri (Honda).

KURTIS ROBERTS - DNF

The problem started probably three laps before I pulled in. I'd go into the corner and the clutch wasn't working right and so I'd start having to grab more clutch trying to get it to slow down. I couldn't make it into the corners. All of the sudden it did something really weird after Nicky (Hayden) passed me going up into five. I was like, that sounds strange. And two more laps, I couldn't get the thing to stop at all. I tried to slow down with engine braking. Nothing was happening. I went into the corner and I went in early and I wasn't braking deep at all. I couldn't get it stopped. I thought the electronics or something were going out on it. So right after that I was like, this thing ain't going to make it anyway. There's no doubt we're struggling right now. But the good thing with Honda is they'll figure out what's wrong with this thing and next year I feel sorry for everyone else in the paddock next year. That's my thinking. If it's the same Honda I've always known.

KENNY ROBERTS - TEAM PRINCIPAL

Just a couple of laps before Kurtis pulled in it looked like something was wrong. He was hanging with Nicky (Hayden) and I thought, OK, it's going to take some time for the tires to get going, because we were in tire dilemma all weekend. And I thought the more he ran the better the tires would get until the last seven, eight laps. So he was riding in a real comfortable zone right there and then all of a sudden he was slowing up, so I thought 'Something's not right.' If we can just continue to do what we do the motor's going to get better for sure. Honda's not going to be like this forever. I thought Kurtis did a great job this weekend. We need to keep making the motorcycle better, which he thought the new one was better. If we keep making that better and if Honda do actually end up giving us something engine-wise then we'll be more ready for it.

-credit: tm

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