KENNY JUNIOR HOPES FOR A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER Le Mans, France - May 19, 2007: Kenny Roberts Junior qualified 18th for tomorrow's French GP, with the rider and team left puzzling over the lack of a more competitive performance. It is not for...
KENNY JUNIOR HOPES FOR A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER
Le Mans, France - May 19, 2007: Kenny Roberts Junior qualified 18th for tomorrow's French GP, with the rider and team left puzzling over the lack of a more competitive performance.
It is not for lack of effort. Roberts, World Champion in 2000, described his bafflement. Riding at his maximum, he was unable to prevent other riders charging past much faster.
It will make another difficult race for Kenny, the only rider in his father Kenny Senio independent team. Roberts is campaigning a unique hybrid prototype racer, powered by a Honda V4 engine mounted in a chassis of the team's own design. In 2006, last year of the 990cc MotoGP era, the combination was developed during the year to become highly competitive, with a rostrum finish at the Portuguese GP.
The switch to 800cc this year, along with a new rule limiting each rider to 31 tyres for the weekend, pre-selected before practice, has meant starting again.
Practice at the 4.180km Bugatti circuit at Le Mans was run in muggy and mainly overcast conditions, with rain forecast for tomorrow.
Pole was claimed by Colin Edwards (Yamaha), at 1'33.616.
Kenny Roberts Jr.: 18th position, 1'35.681
Everything's pretty standard down at our end. I don't know what's missing. When I am by myself, everything is to the maximum ... pushing the front, trying not to fall down mid-corner, then sliding the rear and wheeling and doing all the stuff you do to go fast ... then guys ride round the outside of me like I'm going slow - so I'm not really sure. Hopefully it will rain tomorrow, and change our situation.
Chuck Aksland: Team Manager
It's not where we want to be, but it seems the rule changes affect small independent teams doing what we do the most. The engine development is in Honda's hands. We have one rider and we're trying to compare chassis, compare tyres. These are areas where it's possible to lose your way, or not have the correct direction, just because there's nothing really to compare against. The other satellite Honda teams at least start on the same bikes, and they have information amongst themselves. This is the benefit in having two riders. Our bike is completely different, and it has a different reaction to the same tyres. It's taking a while to figure it out, but we'll keep working on it.