ROBERTS HAS SOME FUN FOR FINAL RACE Kurtis Roberts will start tomorrow's GP of Valencia from the sixth row of the grid, after qualifying in 19th position for the final race of the year. At a favourite track, however, he hopes to be able to...
ROBERTS HAS SOME FUN FOR FINAL RACE
Kurtis Roberts will start tomorrow's GP of Valencia from the sixth row of the grid, after qualifying in 19th position for the final race of the year. At a favourite track, however, he hopes to be able to improve on that, to add more points to his season's score.
Kurtis, the second son of legendary triple champion Kenny Roberts, is riding a Honda-powered hybrid, with a made-in-England special chassis, designed and built by Team Roberts, the only independent constructor in the MotoGP class.
Like all Honda teams, the project has suffered for a lack of horsepower, top speed and acceleration. But alone among them, Team Roberts is racing with the engine in the same specification as it started the year. All other Honda-powered machines have had at least some upgrades.
This will be the last race for the beautifully crafted motorcycle. For 2008, Team Roberts are working on plans for a two-rider team, using engines (or complete motorcycles) from another source.
The KR212V has something extra on the mainly black livery for the final outing ... a list of more than 15,000 names of fans who subscribed over the internet, in a novel scheme to offer loyal supporters a chance to ride with the machine, if only in name.
Team manager Chuck Aksland was delighted by the response. "There are 15,502 names. We offered that option on Sunday at the Australian GP, and we had such a good response we had to stop it at Malaysia, after one week. It's great. The fans had a good time with it, and the team had a good time with it," he said.
Dani Pedrosa took pole position for a fourth race in succession on the factory Honda, with a lap time of 1:31.517 round the tight and intense 4.005km Ricardo Tormo Circuit outside Valencia.
KURTIS ROBERTS - 18th position, 1:33.436
It's always frustrating, but from the team's and my standpoint, it's been good. It's frustrating when you're out with guys and you're easily as fast as them ... until you get to the last corner onto the straightaway. If we could accelerate with them it would be a lot more fun. But we're doing competitive times with the next four or five guys ahead of us, so tomorrow hopefully we'll be able to race with Colin (Edwards) and them guys, and get a good result for what we're on. I like this track - it's a fun layout, one of the better race-tracks. It's small, but it has a good variety of corners. Turn One is really fast and you can brake in deep. It has some slow corners, but they're not all one line, which is nice. You can get in too hot and still make the corner, and not lose any time. Normally it's all one line.
CHUCK AKSLAND - Team Manager
I think today is probably the best riding I've seen Kurtis do in a long time. He was not that far away before everyone put their qualifying tyres on. He was only three tenths behind Nicky Hayden. You have to consider where we are in the engine spec. If we had some more acceleration it would be worth a lot round here. His riding here today is something to be proud of.
-credit: team roberts