MYT Dutch GP final qualifying report

Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa enjoyed a great final qualifying session at Assen this afternoon, moving up to first- and second-row starts for tomorrow's Dutch GP. Biaggi was particularly spectacular, leaving his best...

Marlboro Yamaha Team riders Max Biaggi and Carlos Checa enjoyed a great final qualifying session at Assen this afternoon, moving up to first- and second-row starts for tomorrow's Dutch GP. Biaggi was particularly spectacular, leaving his best until the final moments to get within a tenth of pole position. Checa is also in optimistic mood after moving up to seventh quickest.

"The team did a great job today, so thanks to everyone," said Marlboro Yamaha Team director Hiroya Atsumi. "We worked hard to improve machine balance for both riders, concentrating on suspension settings, so they're getting a better feeling from their bikes. Also, the new cylinders that Max and Carlos are using are working well."

Assen, the only GP track based on public roads, is a unique circuit with frequent and dramatic camber changes that demand something extra from bike and rider. Not unusually there were a number of crashes today, Chris Walker (Honda) coming off worst, with concussion and a finger injury.

"This is such a complex racetrack, even the straights have bends in them," explained Marlboro Yamaha Team manager Geoff Crust. "The room for error is tiny, so it's easy to make a mistake. You need a really good overall balance here, so the bike floats through the camber changes. The team did a brilliant job today, so we're looking forward to going racing tomorrow."


Sixth fastest yesterday, Max Biaggi and his crew worked wonders at Assen today, lapping a massive 1.930 seconds quicker to move up to second fastest. The Marlboro Yamaha Team star spent much of the session duelling for second with title-rival Valentino Rossi (Honda), Biaggi winning the contest with a stunning final lap, just 0.133 seconds off pole position.

"I'm very happy to be on the front row," said the Italian. "The bike was a little unstable yesterday, and though the changes we made for this morning made the bike better, it still wasn't perfect. This afternoon we found the right compromise and we also tried a few different tyres which helped me to do consistent times.

"I must say bravo to my team because they've done a great job here, especially when I came in with four minutes to go. They changed my rear wheel really fast, so I could go out again for another good run. We made a big jump today after we'd studied yesterday's data, so I feel good and ready for the race. I just hope the weather stays the same."


Carlos Checa moved up from the third to the second row in this afternoon's final qualifier, filling the Spaniard with confidence for tomorrow's Dutch GP, round seven of the 2001 World Championship. Like team-mate Biaggi, Checa concentrated on improving the overall balance of his YZR500s on this most complex of racetracks.

"We've gone softer on the rear suspension which has improved rear-tyre feel and reduced front-end push," said Checa, who ended the day just a fraction of a second behind reigning World Champion Kenny Roberts (Suzuki). "It's a compromise that we started working towards during the tests we did at Barcelona after the Catalan GP, and it's really improved my overall feeling for the bike. I did my best times on race tyres, because a soft rear doesn't seem to work so well around here. I feel confident for the race. I feel like I can maintain a good pace and run up front. It's good, but of course we must keep working to make things even better."


Loris Capirossi (Honda) took his second pole position of the year with a spellbinding lap, 1.3 seconds better than last year's Assen pole time. Capirossi, who heads an Italian one-two-three on the grid, was delighted with his performance.

"That was a fantastic lap!" grinned the former 125 and 250 champ. "We improved our settings from yesterday, then we tried some different tyres which gave me what I needed to go faster. But I don't really know what to expect for the race, all I know is that it'll be a different story from today."


{ole sitter at the last two GPs, Valentino Rossi (Honda) was third fastest at Assen today, three tenths off Biaggi and 0.442 seconds off Capirossi's phenomenal pole time. "The pace is incredible," said the World Championship leader. "I'm more than two seconds faster than I was last year and still not on pole. I'm happy enough with our set-up, the only thing I'm worried about is the weather, I really want it to be dry for the race."

FRONT ROW 1. Loris Capirossi (ITA) West HONDA Pons 2'00.743 2. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team 2'00.876 3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Nastro Azzurro HONDA 2'01.185 4. Alex Barros (BRA) West HONDA Pons 2'01.492

7. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team 2'01.897


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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Alex Barros , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Chris Walker