ROBERTS SEEKS THE COMBINATION FOR IMPROVEMENT Brno - August 18, 2007: Kurtis Roberts qualified on the sixth row of the grid for tomorrow's Czech Republic GP, after two days of searching for the right combination to tame the turns on the 5.403km...
ROBERTS SEEKS THE COMBINATION FOR IMPROVEMENT
Brno - August 18, 2007: Kurtis Roberts qualified on the sixth row of the grid for tomorrow's Czech Republic GP, after two days of searching for the right combination to tame the turns on the 5.403km Brno circuit.
Roberts rode the latest version of the England-made chassis for the Team Roberts KR212V Honda-powered hybrid, and reported a clear improvement. But a relative lack of horsepower on the long and hilly circuit, as well as other issues, conspired to keep him from getting into the thick of the action, as MotoGP gets back to work after the long summer break.
Steering feel and handling were improved, and the pace on race tyres better. But on his qualifying lap on soft tyres, Roberts found himself slowed by the factory Kawasaki of Anthony West, which qualified one place higher.
This is the first race since the US GP on July 22, and the second for the significantly revised chassis, which was ready just in time for the American race. Kurtis continues to ride in place of his older brother Kenny Jr., the 2000 World Champion.
The day after the GP is also the first opportunity since early June for full-scale tests, which will be especially valuable to Team Roberts, given the chassis change one race ago.
KURTIS ROBERTS - 17th Position, 1'59.466
We've been on the new chassis since Laguna, but doesn't make up for the lack of horsepower. That's been an issue all year. We can only do so much with what we have, and we're doing it. I prefer the feel the new chassis. It holds a corner line a little better. We still need more, but it's an improvement. One problem is Michelin brought us three or four tyres we haven't tried, with different construction, that won't let the bike turn. There's so much now: how the motor's working, the tyres, the construction all affect the way the bike turns. And ours is different every week. It's hard to get a base line and get consistent, when we keep having these surprises thrown at us.
CHUCK AKSLAND - Team Manager
He was having a good qualifying run when he got behind Anthony West. I think he expected Anthony would pull him along a bit, but in hindsight it probably held him up. That's part of what he's referring to ... if he'd had a bit of horsepower to get around Anthony he'd have a better time. Still, we've improved things for the tyres we have here. It's a big part of the game. We started with a lot of different compounds and a lot of different rear-tyre constructions. Some are working better than others. That seems the biggest area we could improve things, apart from horsepower. It seems every racetrack we go to there's something different and we start from zero again. But he's closing the gap, he's closer to other satellite Hondas, and he's doing a good job. All the signs point to the new chassis being better. On Monday we should have plenty of time to confirm we are going the right way. Hopefully we'll be able to work through a range of tyres too, to give us a baseline in that area.