Catalunyan GP: Team Roberts race notes

KENNY JR. OVER KURTIS IN FAMILY FEUD Kenny Roberts Jr. won the battle of the brothers by beating younger brother Kurtis in the Catalunya Grand Prix in Montmelo, Spain. This was the first time the brothers, who've spent their whole lives pushing...

KENNY JR. OVER KURTIS IN FAMILY FEUD

Kenny Roberts Jr. won the battle of the brothers by beating younger brother Kurtis in the Catalunya Grand Prix in Montmelo, Spain. This was the first time the brothers, who've spent their whole lives pushing each other on the dirt tracks of the Roberts' ranch in Hickman, California, have raced each other to the finish at a world class level, and they came away with a renewed appreciation of each others' skills.

Kenny Jr. finished 16th today, two spots in front of Kurtis, who spent much of the race in front of his far more experienced brother. Kurtis led Kenny Jr. from the first lap to the 19th of 25. It was then that Junior put his considerable experience to good use, cleanly drafting past Kurtis down the front straight of the 4.727 kms. Circuit of Catalunya, site of the seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship.

Once Kenny was in front, he was able to track down and pass fellow Honda rider Carlos Checa and come within one position of scoring more points for the team. Instead, that will have to wait for two weeks time when the series reconvenes for the team's home race, the British Grand Prix at Donington Park.

The Honda-powered hybrid, built in the Team Roberts factory in England, will be improved for the Donington race, but team principal Kenny Roberts said a new chassis is in the early stages of development. It will make its debut at the Roberts' family home race, the end of July U.S.GP at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Today's race was run under a steaming hot 31 degree sun before 112,600 passionate spectators at the circuit north of Barcelona. Championship leader Casey Stoner (Ducati) held off five times MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) for the victory. Honda's Dani Pedrosa gave the home crowd a hard-fought third.

KENNY ROBERTS Jr - 16th position

Kurtis did really good. He was much quicker than I was in the beginning of the race and I was squaring off all the corners and I couldn't get any grip to stay with them guys. And then my bike...the power started coming around, the grip level started getting closer front and rear. Just was trying everything I could to get up with him. Once I got within a second, from then on I was just trying to pass him, if he made a mistake at all. And he didn't make a mistake, didn't get off line. He was braking hard, going through the corner the same speed as me, but accelerating smoother, because I was trying to get a jump on him, so I would just spin. And I finally was able to get a draft off him down the front straight. And then I concentrated on Carlos (Checa) ahead and then he had something go wrong with his tire or bike.

KURTIS ROBERTS - 18th position

Yeah, it was the first time I've ever been in front of Kenny. That probably screwed me up more than anything, because I thought I heard him back there. But what really screwed me up halfway through the race, just for like a lap-I thought he was right behind me the whole race-and it was plus 1.6 seconds. Because I'd see his lap times and I wasn't paying that much attention to the lap board at first. And I would see he'd have a faster one than me. I figured he'd be right behind me. And then he kind of caught me off guard. And trying to catch (Carlos) Checa, I started rushing everything a bit. I just didn't have any grip from the start. I was just hung out to dry, just sliding the thing everywhere. I knew I was catching Checa, but Kenny, when he passed me, I thought I screwed up. I didn't even realize he was towing me along that good. But it was fun. When you watch Little Kenny, he's Mister No Mistake and I make a lot of mistakes.

KENNY ROBERTS - Team Principal

I'd never seen them race like that at this level, of course, but it would be better if we were racing further up the field instead of where we are at the moment. It's apparent that the motor doesn't accelerate, but then we have no grip. I think that we are learning, but it's going to take six weeks to build something different. We just have not been anywhere all year, because it doesn't work, it just doesn't work. When they turn it on, it just doesn't go. Of course the motor isn't the best. But it's still not as bad as what we're riding. The tires I think are actually a little more of a problem than the motor, because we can't seem to get grip. So either the chassis's not getting grip or the motor's not getting grip, but we don't know which one that is.

-credit: tr

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Carlos Checa , Valentino Rossi , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa