ROBERTS GAINS KNOWLEDGE AND SPEED Kurtis Roberts will start tomorrow's British GP from 19th position, but his back-of-the-grid position doesn't reflect the progress the substitute rider has made in just one day of dry practice and ...
ROBERTS GAINS KNOWLEDGE AND SPEED
Kurtis Roberts will start tomorrow's British GP from 19th position, but his back-of-the-grid position doesn't reflect the progress the substitute rider has made in just one day of dry practice and qualifying.
Friday was wet throughout, but both this morning's free practice and the afternoon qualifying session were dry. It meant a quick learning curve for Kurtis, in only his third race on the Honda-powered KR212V machine, and his third visit to the circuit.
The 28-year-old Californian, second son of legendary team owner Kenny Roberts, showed his aptitude by cutting almost three seconds off his lap time morning to afternoon. He feels there is more improvement to come.
This is the home race for Team Roberts and their machine, built little more than an hour down the road in the heart of the "Formula One Belt" at Banbury, but it comes at an awkward time. The team has identified weight distribution problems with their first 800cc prototype, but must now wait while a revised chassis is constructed.
The new bike is expected to be ready for the US GP on July 22. Regular rider Kenny Roberts Jr. will sit out the intervening races, while Kurtis substitutes in the role of development-racer. Team principal Kenny Roberts said: "Kenny has more experience on the 990, but Kurtis has been racing in the 600 class. This new bike is more like a 600 in the way you ride it, so in some ways it suits Kurtis better."
KURTIS ROBERTS - 19th Position, 1:31.543
"We made a lot of improvements today. The wet yesterday hurt us, because I'm still trying to get used to this bike, as well as the track. I've been here twice in ten years ... once in '97 and once in '04. It's kind of tough having to relearn the track in just one day. But this afternoon we got closer to the guys the machine has been running with lately. A lot of that's just me learning where I'm going. I'm still missing the line sometimes, going in a little late, because I'm trying to do it all so fast.
"I don't know how the weather's going to be tomorrow. I think either way we will be up a little higher than we are in qualifying, just by being able to think about the track tonight. I like this track. It's just getting the corner speeds and stuff down. You've got to figure that out. Wet or dry, we're going to have to put our heads down and race for it.
CHUCK AKSLAND - Team Manager
"Bike-wise, we're running what we've had all year. There won't be any significant changes until the new chassis comes. Kurtis is doing a good job. He picked up a lot of time from this morning to the afternoon in the dry sessions. I think he was just starting to get confidence with the race tyres when we had to throw in the qualifying tyres. That adds a whole new element. On race tyres, he continues to improve each time there is the opportunity. Regardless of what the weather does tomorrow I am sure Kurtis will give us a good race!