DOUBLE-STRENGTH ROBERTS TEAM CONTINUES DEVELOPMENT Montmelo, Spain - June 9, 2007: Kenny Roberts Jr. and his younger brother Kurtis qualified 18th and 19th for tomorrow's Catalunyan GP, on a day when qualifying tires did little to improve their...
DOUBLE-STRENGTH ROBERTS TEAM CONTINUES DEVELOPMENT
Montmelo, Spain - June 9, 2007: Kenny Roberts Jr. and his younger brother Kurtis qualified 18th and 19th for tomorrow's Catalunyan GP, on a day when qualifying tires did little to improve their positions. Brilliant Spanish sunshine greeted the brothers, who had three full hours of dry practice prior to Saturday's qualifying session. For Kurtis, it was only his second outing on the 2007 Honda-powered KR212V, built in England's Formula One belt. But he was able to outpace his brother for much of the session, showing that he's quickly adapting to the 800cc era.
Kenny Jr. used his superior analytical skills to help his brother. A change to the steering head improved the handling of his machine, while giving Kurtis a new set-up for the morning practice. If it's as beneficial as it was for Kenny, the change should allow Kurtis to push his older brother in tomorrow's seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship.
Pole position at the spectacular 4.727km Catalunya circuit, north of Barcelona, went to Valentino Rossi (Yamaha). In very hot conditions, his time of 1'41.840 was a new lap record.
KENNY ROBERTS Jr. - 18th position, 1'44.263
As far as the qualifiers go, the first one I got just a bad feeling out of the front right out of the pits and felt like I wasn't able to put any pressure on it. So when I came in, Warren (Willing) rotated the bike around to put more physical weight on the front and then it actually felt fine for the second run. I think if I would have had that confidence in it from the first run, I would have been able to go quicker. The team had two different bikes in the garage and we improved mine by pushing the steering head away and getting a little bit more leverage on it to go into corner and that helped quite a bit. And I think Kurtis will run that tomorrow morning.
KURTIS ROBERTS - 19th position, 1'45.223
Well, we're as fast on race tires as we are on qualifiers. The problem is we put on the qualifiers and we need to pick up a second or two like everyone else does and we just chattered our brains out. I was with (Alex) Barros the whole lap until the last two corners and then he's gone, just because there's nothing I could do about it. I was even ahead of Kenny there for 90% of the session, which isn't bad considering how much time we have on the thing. You've got to look at everything in comparison. It's not like we're that far off. Kenny thought that there might be a problem when I went to qualifiers, but there's nothing we could do about it. It's just time. I think it's heading in the right direction.
KENNY ROBERTS- Team Principal
This one's actually better than Italy. For race tires, we're fairly competitive with the group ahead of us. In Italy we weren't that close. So it's better for a race set-up than it was in Italy. But the qualifier just chattered its brains out and of course we're going two, three seconds off the pace, now a second and a half off a decent pace in practice. It's not like we're going to throw a qualifier in and go out there and nail it.
We have to be able to accelerate, and right now it's just turn the throttle and go and it doesn't push. So all of our chassis stiffnesses and all of that stuff, we have to re-do them and re-design. We've got to make a new chassis. So that's going to be Laguna until we get that done, because that's completely different, completely new. We're kind of struggling through all this stuff trying to get as much information as we can, because I don't want to build a chassis and then say, ah, we should have done this or we should have done that.