Australian GP: Team Roberts race report

GOOD FIGHT BUT NO POINTS FOR ROBERTS IN AUSTRALIA Phillip Island, Australia - October 14, 2007: Kurtis Roberts had one of the best races since stepping in to his father's team mid-season, fighting to the finish. But a top-15 points-scoring...

GOOD FIGHT BUT NO POINTS FOR ROBERTS IN AUSTRALIA

Phillip Island, Australia - October 14, 2007: Kurtis Roberts had one of the best races since stepping in to his father's team mid-season, fighting to the finish. But a top-15 points-scoring result was just out of his reach, after losing out at the end to Yamaha-mounted Makoto Tamada. The younger son of racing legend Kenny Roberts finished 17th, less than three seconds from the points.

Roberts, who qualified 19th, was barely a tenth of a second behind the Yamaha after 27 laps of the 4.448-km seaside circuit a couple of hours from Melbourne, after getting overtaken just a few corners from the finish.

The race was run in mild, sunny conditions, after rain and freezing wind had been a constant problem throughout two days of practice and qualifying. It left all riders short of crucial machine set-up time. Kurtis had another difficulty: it is ten years since he last saw the sweeping and highly technical circuit, and he was short also of time to regain familiarity with the subtle high-speed sweeps and swoops.

The Californian had qualified 19th, and held the position in the early laps. As the race wore on, he found he was closing on not only Tamada, but also Toni Elias (Honda) a couple of seconds ahead. With five laps to go Roberts took 16th from former GP winner Tamada, but instead of being able to close on Elias, difficulties with his sliding tyres meant he instead succumbed to Tamada's attack on the last lap.

The race was won by new World Champion Casey Stoner, with Ducatiteam-mate Loris Capirossi second, and former champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) third.

KURTIS ROBERTS - 17th Position
This weekend's been tough just because of the weather conditions. Andit's the first time I've been here in ten years. We had as good a set-up as we could get, with only one session and today's warm-up without any rain in the middle of it. We did as much as we could. I probably could have ridden a bit better, but I tried my hardest and ended up just losing out to Tamada and Elias right at the end. I'd got ahead of Tamada, but I just left the door open coming down the hill on the last lap. He pulled alongside and I went round the corner right with him. I thought I could out-drive him on the way out, but he had more grip. My bike was spinning there the whole race. I tried again in the last corner, but I went sideways.

CHUCK AKSLAND - Team Manager
It's a decent result from where we started the weekend, so we have to be happy with that. Kurtis and the team worked hard to make the best job we could. We didn't make many changes from this morning - just got into race mode, and Kurtis rode better as the temperature increased and he got more comfortable. That and time on the race-track helped him as well. He did a good job again.

-credit: team roberts

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Kurtis Roberts , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Toni Elias , Casey Stoner , Phillip Island