Final Qualification Times 500cc. Dutch TT

Colin MacKellar
by Colin MacKellar
It's an Italian 1-2-3, as you might expect, but this time it's Loris who's the guy to beat and Max who is closest to achieving this. Valentino's not far behind.....

2001 Dutch TTTRACK: AssenDATE: 29 June 2001WEATHER: Warm, sunny Final Qualification times for Practice 500cc Times------------------Pos No. Rider Nat Bike Time--- --- ----- --- ---- ----1 65 Capirossi Ita Hon 2'00.7432 3 Biaggi Ita Yam 2'00.8763 46 Rossi Ita Hon 2'01.1854 4 Barros Bra Hon 2'01.4925 56 Nakano Jpn Yam 2'01.6466 1 Roberts USA Suz 2'01.7737 7 Checa Spa Yam 2'01.8978 6 Abe Jpn Yam 2'02.2189 15 Gibernau Spa Suz 2'02.44010 1 Criville Spa Hon 2'02.52111 11 Ukawa Jpn Hon 2'02.91312 19 Jacque Fra Yam 2'03.02613 41 Haga Jpn Yam 2'03.11614 17 v.d. Goorbergh Hol Proton 2'03.13415 5 McCoy Aus Yam 2'04.046 (*)16 8 Walker Gbr Hon 2'04.287 (*)(*) Will not race

Front row for the 71st. Dutch TT

Capirossi still tops, but Biaggi on a mission

Again it was Team Italia that provided the action, with Loris Capirossi (West Pons Honda) showing that he is unbeatable on the Dutch track and Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha) digging deep to come within a whisker of getting pole. Valentino Rossi (Nastro Azzurro Honda) had a difficult session, taking most of the hour to better his time from yesterday and unable to keep Biaggi behind him. There were numerous off-track excursions, including both Roberts and Gibernau of the Movistar Suzuki team, but fortunately neither crashed. Less fortunate were Nori Haga (Red Bull Yamaha), who clipped the grass on a righthander and suffered a dramatic high-sider and Norick Abe (Antenna 3 Yamaha) who also tumbled through the gravel trap. Both riders were not seriously hurt.Gary McCoy (Red Bull Yamaha) decided not to compete in the GP after a very tough day yesterday, the pain from his broken wrist proving too much. Chris Walker continued to struggle and crashed at speed in the morning, causing the free session to be red-flagged with less than 5 minutes left. He was concussed and taken to hospital and will not be competing. Some reports talk of a broken foot.

Quotes.

Capirossi: That was a fantastic lap. We improved our settings from yesterday, then we tried some different tires which gave me what I needed to go faster. But I don't know what to expect for the race, except that it will be a different story from today

Rossi: Tyhe pace is incredible. I'm more than two seconds faster than I was last year and I'm still not on pole!! I'm yhappy enough with our settings, the only thing I'm worried about is the weather. I'm praying it won't rain.

The fastest race bike in the world. The NSR500

Biaggi: I'm very happy to be on the front row. The bike was a little unstable yesterday and though the changes we made for this morning made the bike better, it still wasn't perfect. This afternoon we found the right compromise and we also tried a few different tires which helped me to do consistent times. A special thanks go to the team that managed to change my rear tire and get me out again when I came in with just 4 minutes left of the session. I feel good and ready for the race. I hope the weather holds.

Checa: We've gone softer on the rear suspension which has improved rear-tire feel and reduced front-end push. It's a compromise we started working towards during the tests we did at Barcelona after the Catalan GP, and it's really improved my overall feeling for the bike. I did my best times on race tires, as a soft rear doesn't work so well around here. I feel confident for the race.

Roberts: We've been going round and round with bike settings - which is basically the same situation we have had since the beginning of the year. This is our level right now. I have to accept this. Obviously I'm not happy with the situation.

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Colin MacKellar
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