Dutch Grand Prix, Assen First Qualifying, Thursday June 28 2001 Marlboro Yamaha Men Ease Into Assen Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa were sixth and tenth in this afternoon's opening qualifier at Assen, the unique public...
Dutch Grand Prix, Assen
First Qualifying, Thursday June 28 2001
Marlboro Yamaha Men Ease Into Assen
Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa were sixth and tenth in this afternoon's opening qualifier at Assen, the unique public road-based GP track. Assen is unlike any other circuit on the World Championship calendar and requires a special approach, both from riders and engineers.
Biaggi, Checa and their crews did valuable base work today, and with good weather forecast throughout the event, they're both confident of moving up the grid tomorrow in preparation for Saturday's race, the seventh round of this year's 16-race series.
"This is definitely a special race for everyone," said Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust. "And I think Max and Carlos will be okay here. Max needs to do a bit of work on chassis set-up, while Carlos will go for different tyres tomorrow. So long as the weather stays okay we'll be all right. They say there'll be no rain, but then again, it is Assen."
Both men have new engine parts here - different specification cylinders that they first tested at Catalunya last week. "The new cylinders give smoother power with some more over-rev," explained Marlboro Yamaha Team director Hiroya Atsumi.
BIAGGI SIXTH QUICKEST
Max Biaggi was sixth fastest in today's ultra-rapid first qualifying session at Assen. The Italian, who had run second in this morning's 'free' session, spent much of the day working on chassis set-up.
"Our main problem is that our corner speed is down compared to last year," explained the Marlboro Yamaha Team star who turned 30 years old the day before yesterday. "The bike feels a little unstable into the turns, so I 'm losing corner speed, and that's obviously losing me time down the straights too. We started with our Barcelona settings, which aren't too different from what we ran here last year, but there is a difference - we're now running the 16.5in rear. So we need to check all the data, work out why our corner speed is down and then adapt the set-up. The pace up front is fast, I think it'll be difficult to find over a second, but the race will be different."
CHECA ON ROW THREE
Third fastest this morning, Carlos Checa was tenth this afternoon but optimistic he can move closer to the front of the grid in tomorrow's all-important final qualifier. A past podium finisher at Assen, the Spanish Marlboro Yamaha Team man's fastest lap was achieved early in the session when he was running race tyres, because he chose a too-soft rear tyre for his crucial end-of-session run.
"Early on I was running race tyres and the bike felt good," said Checa. "But at the end of the session when we fitted a softer rear to go for a time, we went too soft. The rear was giving so much grip that it was making the front push into the turns, and out of the corners the rear was moving around, it was too unstable. We should be able to improve things for tomorrow, I think we'll be okay."
CAPIROSSI FASTEST EVER AT ASSEN
Loris Capirossi (Honda) was the star performer of this afternoon's session as he won an enthralling duel for provisional pole with fellow Italian and title rival Valentino Rossi (Honda). The pair kept upping the pace, Capirossi clocking the fastest-ever Assen lap in the final two minutes, at 2m 01.417s, over a tenth inside the record '99 pole time of Tady Okada (Honda).
"We had some trouble getting the chassis right this morning but by halfway through this afternoon we were there," said Capirossi. "Now our fork and rear suspension settings are fine. This place is good for me - the bike matters less than at other tracks - so maybe we can race Rossi here."
BIAGGI & ROSSI SHAKE ON IT
Yesterday Max Biaggi met with title-rival Valentino Rossi to shake hands over their post-race disagreement at Catalunya. The riders have been threatened with sanctions if they should contravene GP racing's sporting code again and they've both admitted that the warning could affect their riding. "I respect the rules and I respect what they've said to us," said Biaggi. "I'm thinking about it all the time, what I should do, what I shouldn't do." Rossi added: "It's having a big effect, if Max or I do something wrong again, we'll have to stay home for one race." <pre> FIRST QUALIFYING 1. Loris Capirossi (ITA) West HONDA Pons 2'01.417 2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA 2'01.649 3. Alex Barros (BRA) West HONDA Pons 2'02.338 4. Kenny Roberts (USA) Telefonica Movistar SUZUKI 2'02.349 6. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team 2'02.806 10. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team 2'03.345