FOURTH ROW FOR ROBERTS AFTER RECORD QUALIFYING Jerez de la Frontera, Spain - March 24, 2007: Kenny Roberts Junior took a big step forward in the closing minutes of final qualifying, leap-frogging eight places on his final lap to qualify tenth,...
FOURTH ROW FOR ROBERTS AFTER RECORD QUALIFYING
Jerez de la Frontera, Spain - March 24, 2007: Kenny Roberts Junior took a big step forward in the closing minutes of final qualifying, leap-frogging eight places on his final lap to qualify tenth, to start the first European round from row four of the grid.
It could have been better. After the first three time splits on his fast lap he was fourth-fastest, but losing a couple of tenths on the final section dropped him back. Qualifying times were so close they set a new record, with the first ten qualifiers within 0.325 seconds of pole time set by Dani Pedrosa (Honda).
New sponsorship for this and at least the next two races saw Kenny Junior riding with a new all-black paint job on the England-built Honda-powered hybrid machine, highlighted by a giant skull and crossbones. This reflects the new backing, from F1 MAX-X and MGM's Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Roberts, the sole rider in his father Kenny Senior's team, had started the weekend perfectly, setting fastest time in Friday morning's first free practice session. He was unable quite to recapture that form, but after a disappointing 18th qualifying and 13th race place in the opening round at Qatar, today's performance marked clear progress.
Kenny Roberts Jr.: 10th position, 1'39.727
That was more difficult than it looked. We're at 100 percent capacity within our group, but sometimes we don't have enough manpower to pick up on things. We think there was an error made going into qualifying with the rear suspension. According to the computer, it wasn't sitting where it should. The guys picked up on it halfway through the session, but I was already on my good tyre and had already done everything up until qualifying at that point. They made an adjustment, and I was able to do one lap, and it felt like it was in the right position, so then we just jumped right into qualifying.
I shouldn't be in this position after what we were able to do Friday, but everybody in this garage is trying 100 percent. We're three tenths off pole, and on the fourth row! It could have been worse, but I'm proud of the guys. And we're better off than we were in Qatar. At least we were able to shine when everything was right on Friday. We have to keep plugging away and hopefully the sponsorship stuff continues to kick in. Everything looks good, the bike looks fine. I think it's going the right direction.
Kenny Roberts Sr.: Team Owner
We're living up to our sponsor - in Las Vegas, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. We were fourth, until the last splits. But with 15 guys within one second, it doesn't take much to change your place. All in all, after Qatar, we're back in touch.