LAST-LAP BREAKDOWN FOILS KENNY'S CUNNING PLAN Le Mans, France - May 20, 2007: Kenny Roberts Junior dropped out of a points-scoring position in today's gruellingly wet French GP, when his engine stopped on the final lap of a race that started...
LAST-LAP BREAKDOWN FOILS KENNY'S CUNNING PLAN
Le Mans, France - May 20, 2007: Kenny Roberts Junior dropped out of a points-scoring position in today's gruellingly wet French GP, when his engine stopped on the final lap of a race that started damp, and finished in a deluge.
The 2000 World Champion had gambled on the weather, starting the race on full wet tyres while the rest of the field were on slicks. On a fully wet track, this would have given him an early advantage, and another chance to display his wet-weather skills.
The rain did come, but not soon enough to play into his hands - by the time the track was fully wet, after one third distance of the 28-lap race, Roberts had already lost too much time.
He did regain some as other riders stopped to change to bikes fitted with wet tyres, and he was circulating steadily in the points right up until the final lap. Then the engine stopped abruptly, and he was forced to retire, the chequered flag barely a mile away.
It was a disappointing afternoon for the England-based independent constructors, running a chassis of their own design and manufacture, powered by a V4 Honda engine.
The bad weather is expected to continue tomorrow, and as a result the team will probably not test after all. This is another unwelcome turn of events: with only one rider and a brand new and unique machine, they need all the testing time they can get.
The race was won by Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki), after earlier leaders crashed out in the treacherous conditions.
KENNY ROBERTS - Team Principal
It rained, but not soon enough for us. Then the engine quit on the last lap, in a big way, apparently. We're waiting now to find out exactly what happened. For the future, we need more information and more time, and right now we're not getting either. It looks like we won't be testing tomorrow because of the rain. We need some help somewhere.