ROBERTS JUNIOR FLUMMOXED IN FINAL QUALIFYING Kenny Roberts Jr. will start tomorrow's race from the fifth row of the grid, after a combination of circumstances in the final qualifying session saw him drop from the provisional front row to 13th ...
ROBERTS JUNIOR FLUMMOXED IN FINAL QUALIFYING
Kenny Roberts Jr. will start tomorrow's race from the fifth row of the grid, after a combination of circumstances in the final qualifying session saw him drop from the provisional front row to 13th overall.
Roberts, the World Champion in 2000, had been well up with the fast men in the three free practice sessions, finishing third overall yesterday, and placing a close fourth this morning. The strong performance came after setting improvements to the latest chassis, achieved in tests after the previous round in Japan.
Roberts rides a hybrid Honda-powered machine with an England-made chassis, for his triple champion father's team. His drop from the top ten is a reflection on how close qualifying times are in the MotoGP class - he was less than one-and-a-quarter of a second off pole.
Kenny Junior's difficulties came at the worst possible time, in the single one-hour qualifying session, which decides grid positions. There was not particular problem - just that circumstances conspired against him every time he essayed a fast lap. The consequence was that he was not able to add another front row start to the four so far this season.
Roberts's pace in general has been good. His target now will be to get off the line well and gain positions on the first lap, to improve his chances in a close battle for sixth overall. In the past 11 races, Roberts has only once finished outside the top ten, and has been five times in the top five.
Practice took place in warm, sunny conditions, with a good crowd at the 4.182 km Estoril circuit near the resort town of Cascais, outside the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The Portuguese GP is the 16th of 17 rounds of the MotoGP World Championship.
KENNY ROBERTS Jr. - 13th position, 1:37.433
There's nothing to say, really. I tried three qualifying tyres, and none of them worked for me. I made some mistakes, or I'd run in to traffic or something. I'd be happy about my pace on race tyres, if I wasn't 13th. I've got to get a good start.
KENNY ROBERTS - TEAM OWNER
We need a better result tomorrow. I think the combination is there for the race. It's just that there's a lot of breaks you have to have in qualifying, and sometimes we hit it right, and sometimes we don't. We still need work on that. It's awful close out there.