Rizla Suzuki racers Loris Capirossi and Alvaro Bautista continued with the promise shown yesterday to produce the team’s best qualifying session of the season so far at Catalunya today.
Capirossi (P7, 1’42.903, 26 laps) and Bautista (P9, 1’43.025, 28 laps) were both less than a second from the pole position time set by Jorge Lorenzo and were within 0.5 of-a-second of a front row start. Capirossi worked tirelessly in the blistering Catalonian heat as he managed a total of 56 laps around the 4,727m circuit during today’s two sessions. He made very few alterations to his machine and is sure he will be able to race competitively in tomorrow’s 25-lap race.
Bautista went from strength to strength at his home Grand Prix today. He continually improved on his lap-times and with less than 10 minutes to go was in the top-four during the qualifying session. Showing no ill effects from yesterday’s crash, Bautista is confident that he will perform well in front of his home fans and give the Rizla Suzuki team a result to smile about tomorrow.
Today’s practice was held in scorching conditions again with the track temperatures rising to 53ºC. Spaniard Lorenzo took his third successive pole position as he attempts to win his third race in a row and extend his championship lead.
Tomorrow’s race is the seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship and the main event will be set for the off at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
“Overall the weekend has been not too bad and we have been working quite hard all day today. In this morning’s session we only stopped once in the hour and we managed to understand many things on the bike. We only changed one thing on the bike today and the team has done a great job to set the GSV-R up for here. I feel good with the weekend so far, but we are still missing a little something, especially in turns 9, 12 and 13. I am struggling a little bit in the fastest points, but it is enjoyable to ride the bike and I think that tomorrow we can have a good race.”
“I am happy because I have improved on my time and I am lucky that my left arm is ok – it’s not perfect, but at least I am able to ride the bike like I want to. This morning we improved the bike and I was happy with the set-up. This afternoon I tried to do a long run with the front tyre, but something wasn’t right with the feeling so I had to change it and that resolved things. I tried to follow Lorenzo and I got a couple of good laps, this put me in fourth position for a while – which was good because it was the best I have been in MotoGP. At the finish of the session I made a mistake on my last lap and lost some time, if I hadn’t I might have been higher up the grid. I am happy though because this is my best qualifying position and now I want to make a good start tomorrow so I can fight with other riders for the front positions. I really want to have a good race here at my home Grand Prix.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“Congratulations to all the team – and both riders – on a fine effort so far this weekend in Catalunya. It is particularly pleasing to see Álvaro back and showing the kind of form that we know he is capable of. For both of the guys to be less than a second off pole – and half-of-a-second off the front row – is a massive step from where we have been recently. It’s going to be very difficult for all the bikes and riders in this heat tomorrow, but Loris and Álvaro are up for the challenge and whilst we’re very realistic about the steps we’ve taken and the expectations for tomorrow, we all feel positive that the guys have the capability to put on a good show.”
Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya Qualifying Practice Classification:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’42.046: 2. Casey Stoner (Ducati) +0.364: 3. Randy de Puniet (Honda) +0.466: 4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +0.546: 5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +0.664: 7. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +0.857: 9. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +0.979: