ROBERTS ON TARGET FOR FRONT ROW START Kenny Roberts Jr. came out fighting for Sunday's Portuguese GP, claiming a provisional front-row position with third-fastest time after the first day of practice. If he achieves this goal tomorrow, it will...
ROBERTS ON TARGET FOR FRONT ROW START
Kenny Roberts Jr. came out fighting for Sunday's Portuguese GP, claiming a provisional front-row position with third-fastest time after the first day of practice. If he achieves this goal tomorrow, it will be his fifth front-row start in the last ten races.
The 2000 World Champion was using the latest chassis for the KR211V hybrid, which marries a V5 Honda engine with an England-built Team Roberts chassis. He now has two machines in the latest spec, with the rear damper mounted to the chassis rather than the swing-arm.
Today's extra edge came with settings found in tests after the Japanese GP two weekends ago, allowing Kenny Junior to get the most out of his ever-improving package.
Roberts ran 23 laps of the 4.182km Estoril circuit, outside the seaside resort town of Cascais near Lisbon, in the faster afternoon session, and ended up just over a tenth down on the best time, set by Honda rider Casey Stoner, with Nicky Hayden's factory Honda second.
"Junior's" best time came on the fifth of a six-lap run, using race rather than qualifying tyres. They will be saved for tomorrow, when the final single hour-long qualifying session will determine final grid positions for Sunday's race. The Portuguese round is the second-last of 17 races, and Kenny's strong form as the season has worn on has put him in the thick of a group of riders disputing sixth overall, with Stoner just nine points ahead of the American.
KENNY ROBERTS JR. - Third position, 1:38.337
We improved at the tests in after the race in Japan - it's really as simple as that. We'd been really struggling with rear grip for the last three races, especially out of slow corners, and I think we still are to a certain extent. But we found a good direction in Japan to help our situation. We made big steps, and I felt the bike would be better here, and that I'd be much more competitive. At the moment, I feel we made a good step.
CHUCK AKSLAND - Team Manager
We brought a new chassis to Japan during the weekend, and there were a lot of positives with it. However the race came quick and really we were just abit off with the set-up. The test on the Monday following gave us time to explore some options that we brought here and so far they seem to be working pretty good. Although there are slight differences between the two chassis, the behaviour is more based on which settings are in which bike.