EARLY BATH FOR ROBERTS AS MISFIRE STOPS HIS RACE Kurtis Roberts had a disappointing close to a difficult season in the final round of the MotoGP championship, the Valencia GP, retiring after ten laps of the 30-lap race round the 4.005-km Ricardo...
EARLY BATH FOR ROBERTS AS MISFIRE STOPS HIS RACE
Kurtis Roberts had a disappointing close to a difficult season in the final round of the MotoGP championship, the Valencia GP, retiring after ten laps of the 30-lap race round the 4.005-km Ricardo Tormo circuit outside the historic port city.
The younger son of triple-champion Kenny Roberts had qualified 19th, and felt confident he could improve his position and add to his points score after an encouraging performance in morning warm-up, when he was 14th.
It all came to nothing, when his Honda-powered hybrid went sick almost immediately after the start. The engine, fitted in a special chassis made in England by his father's team, started to misfire, and got progressively worse. Kurtis kept trying, but was losing more ground each lap, and eventually retired from the hopeless task.
It meant disappointment also for 15,502 fans who subscribed to put their names on the bike's fairing for the last race. The list had to be closed after just one week, because the response was so great, in spite of a difficult year. Team Roberts hopes to reward their loyal support in the future, with a project for a two-rider team and a different machine for 2008.
Today's race winner was Dani Pedrosa (Honda), from new World Champion Casey Stoner (Ducati), with John Hopkins (Suzuki) third. Pedrosa's victory meant he displaced multi-champion Valentino Rossi from second overall.
KURTIS ROBERTS - Did Not Finish
"The thing just never worked right. We did 1'34 lap times pretty easily in practice, and a 1'33 to qualify. I was riding just the same in the race and we couldn't even see 1'34. My last lap was a 1'36. The engine started missing really bad off the bottom, and got progressively worse from the first lap on. I couldn't do anything to keep up with them. It got slower and slower, which is pretty bad for the slowest thing out there. Honda did a good job on their bikes obviously, but not ours."
CHUCK AKSLAND - Team Manager
"That wasn't exactly what we hoped for, but there's nothing you can do when the thing's not running right. It just got worse with each lap. It was very inconsistent, and just got impossible to ride. It's a shame because this morning's warm-up went great, Kurtis has been riding hard and well all weekend, and could have had a good race. Anyway, that's that - we go on to better things, hopefully. We need to thank all the fans who supported us and showed interest in the project this year, and to all our suppliers and technical staff for assisting as they could. And the team: they worked hard and never gave up. I think it is one of the strongest teams in the paddock. Hopefully we can get the programme together to get our results back where they should be."