Sepang : Team KR - Race
In another enthralling encounter as a vintage World Championship season reaches boiling point, the Malaysian Grand Prix, played out in front of 43,000 hardcore fans, provided yet another high octane duel won by Valentino Rossi from the reliably combative
Loris Capirossi, with red-hot rookie Dani Pedrosa third.
After the monsoon-aborted qualifying session, this 21-lap dice got underway in a 33- degree heat haze with the track at a steamy 49-degrees. With just four rounds to go after this critical encounter, the stakes were high, and it was inevitable that the lap record set by Nicky Hayden last year would tumble.
Kenny Roberts (Roberts KR211V), who finished seventh, said: "I got a bad start – just didn't get off the line well, and that put me in a bad place for the entire race. I was overshooting a lot of these slow corners trying to be aggressive. It took me a while to smooth out and by the time I did, I was where I was at. I just tried to stay smooth. When John (Hopkins) got past and went after Casey (Stoner), I was able to catch Casey too. I passed him, and I wanted to make a run at John, but I needed another couple of laps."
Kenny Roberts Senior, team owner, added: "I wasn't really confident going into it, so I think that was probably the best we could have hoped for.
In practice, again we are doing the one or two laps that put us up there, but I think he is disguising at that point some of the weaknesses we've got. He was having trouble all weekend getting off the slower corners without spinning, and it just magnifies it in the race, especially after a bad start. When he gets ahead, he's okay because it slows them down on the corner exit too. We really didn't have enough time with the new chassis to work that out."
Press Release HRC