Portugal GP: Yamaha Team first qualifying notes

MARLBORO YAMAHA MEN END DAY ONE ON ROW TWO Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi completed a windswept first day of qualifying for Sunday's Marlboro Portuguese GP with provisional spots on the second row of the ...

MARLBORO YAMAHA MEN END DAY ONE ON ROW TWO

Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1 riders Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi completed a windswept first day of qualifying for Sunday's Marlboro Portuguese GP with provisional spots on the second row of the grid.

Both men are continuing from where they left off at Brno two weeks ago, making back-to-back comparisons between two different M1 chassis.

"That's not so bad for the first day, Carlos and Max are both on row two and pretty close to pole," said Marlboro Yamaha Team director Davide Brivio. "We are still working on both chassis, discussing which is the best way forward for this track. As is usual on the first day of practice, we're also working on the mapping and settings for the computer engine-braking system, because the system has changed so much since we were last here. Max is swapping back and forth between the two chassis more than Carlos, who's done an amazing job today, coming back to compete for pole after a big crash this morning."

CHECA BOUNCES BACK FROM MORNING FALL

Carlos Checa staged a remarkable comeback from a massive tumble during this morning's practice session, battling for pole position this afternoon and ending the session a close fifth fastest. The Marlboro Yamaha Team man was highsided from his M1 as he powered out of Estoril's high-speed final corner, landing heavily on his back, but insists that he suffered no real ill effects from the impact - a testament to the quality of modern-day protective riding gear.

"Unfortunately I was wearing a brand-new set of leathers, but you could say I gave them a good test, along with a new Alpinestars back protector I'm wearing here," grinned the resilient Spaniard who was soon back on board, setting second-best time in session. "I was a little stiff before the start of the afternoon session, but otherwise no real pain. This track isn't easy because there are some very, very slow corners and we have so much horsepower, so we're focusing on getting that power to the asphalt as smoothly as possible. This afternoon I mostly used the newer chassis, because I think this is the direction we want to take."

BIAGGI CONTINUES M1 CHASSIS WORK

Winner at Brno two weeks back, Max Biaggi dedicated much of today's two sessions to comparing his two different M1 chassis. The Marlboro Yamaha Team rider clocked plenty of laps with both chassis, working towards the ideal suspension set-up for this twisting and very bumpy circuit. He ended the afternoon outing seventh but would've been higher up the order if he'd managed to get in two flying laps during his end-of-session run.

"As usual we fitted a new rear Michelin with a few minutes to go but I only had time for one flying lap before the chequered flag came out, instead of the usual two," he said. "During both sessions we tried a lot of different tyres and tried many different suspension settings with both chassis, but we still need to do more work on set-up. I'll decide sometime tomorrow which chassis I want to use for the race, then we can focus all our attentions on just one chassis."

BARROS & TWO-STROKE ON TOP

Alex Barros struck a blow for the 500 two-strokes at Estoril today, putting his Honda NSR500 on provisional pole, just 0.007 seconds ahead of Honda four-stroke rider Daijiro Kato. "Today was good but the four-strokes will get faster tomorrow, so things will get more difficult for us," said Barros. World Championship leader Valentino Rossi ended the session third fastest after his last-gasp run for pole ended when he ran off the track at turn one.

<pre> PROVISIONAL FRONT ROW
1. Alex Barros (BRA) West HONDA Pons (NSR500) 1'40.112
2. Daijiro Kato (JPN) Fortuna HONDA Gresini (RC211v) 1'40.119
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Repsol HONDA Team (RC211v) 1'40.413
4. Loris Capirossi (ITA) West HONDA Pons (NSR500) 1'40.441

5. CARLOS CHECA (SPA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team (YZR-M1) 1'40.488
7. MAX BIAGGI (ITA) Marlboro YAMAHA Team (YZR-M1) 1'40.608

-myt-

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Max Biaggi , Carlos Checa , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Alex Barros