NEW DIRECTION MEANS A NEW START FOR ROBERTS Istanbul Park, Turkey - April 21, 2007: Kenny Roberts Junior qualified 18th for tomorrow's Turkish GP, after a step-change in rear suspension asked new technical questions, while circumstances robbed...
NEW DIRECTION MEANS A NEW START FOR ROBERTS
Istanbul Park, Turkey - April 21, 2007: Kenny Roberts Junior qualified 18th for tomorrow's Turkish GP, after a step-change in rear suspension asked new technical questions, while circumstances robbed the team of time to answer them.
The change is to the rear suspension, with significantly revised stiffness of the swing-arm. That has addressed existing grip problems and promises further improvements to come. But it will also require changes to other machine settings to achieve the correct final balance.
With the first free practice session spoiled by rain, the team were still working towards a solution when the final qualifying session came around. They plan further front suspension changes in morning warm-up that they hope will improve Kenny's chances of adding to his points score.
Pole position went to Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), at 1'52.795.
Kenny Roberts Jr.: 18th position, 1'54.845
We took a big gamble here, with swing-arms substantially different to anything since the first Honda Team Roberts bike. It's an area we have never changed, that we think is related to the grip problem. It seems to help that area, but it creates a lot of problems with how I load the bike. I can load the rear harder, but the bike's not in the right position. It's as though it's set up to not overload that area, because we had developed the bike not to overload the tyre. Both my qualifying tyres looked brand new at the end, which means something's not right.
Certainly, the change is the right direction. It's just now a matter of trying to get the bike to work with those swing-arms. There is a key front fork setting that really stands out to me, so we're going to change that tonight for the warm-up. We did a 1'55.7 on race tyres. That's not fantastic, but it was similar to some of the other Hondas at the time. We're just a little off, but a long way off in position.
Chuck Aksland: Team Manager
The swing-arms have been modified to change stiffness. Even last year he was struggling for grip, and it was one of the areas that hadn't changed much, so we made a big jump and brought it here. The positive thing is it seems to have made some difference, but with the set-up of the bike and suspension having compensated around that weakness, it seems we need some other changes. With the first session wet, we just ran out of time. We'll try a few steps in the morning, and hope it will improve.
-credit: team roberts