1 January 1901
WCM embarrass Kawasaki, Proton.
After enduring the toughest season of any MotoGP team this year, WCM finally had good reason to smile this afternoon in Estoril, as on its qualifying debut the team's new four-stroke beat a factory Kawasaki and Proton on pure pace.
David de Gea was the man who delivered the amazing result, achieved by getting some awesome lean angles from the four-cylinder powered machine – and if the Spaniard had gone just 0.1secs faster he'd also have disposed of the second Kawasaki of Andrew Pitt.
"A very good day for me, my mechanics and the whole team. I am very happy, the bike is working well and my laps time are very consistent," smiled de Gea. "Tomorrow we are aiming for fast, consistent lap times, somewhere in the 1min 43secs.
"I am so happy also to finish in front of the factory Kawasaki of McCoy and up to the final lap, I was in 20th position, in front of Pitt also," he pointed out.
"I'm absolutely thrilled. Everyone's done a brilliant job. We only came here with two engines for the two riders and we've qualified in front of people with more money, backing and track time," beamed team manager Peter Clifford. "We all know that it is race day that counts, but I certainly wasn't sure that we'd get this far on our first attempt."
However, things weren't so good for de Gea's team-mate Chris Burns, who found himself at the back of the pack as he learnt his way around the twisty, and technical, layout.
"I am disappointed to be where I am at the rear of the grid, but hopefully I will not be finishing the race in that position tomorrow," he said. "It's my first time here, so I am getting to know my way around now, after not having an opportunity yesterday to put in many laps at all. I've done 42 laps today.
"I'm struggling a bit with some front engine chatter and the engine braking is very sensitive, so we have a few things to work on overnight, but basically the bike feels strong," Burns added. "I guess my laps times aren't to bad and I have made a significant improvement on my times from yesterday. Tomorrow I finally get to race the four stroke, I really look forward to that."
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