Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi made a promising return from injury by recording the 10th fastest time at a very wet Estoril circuit in Portugal today.
Capirossi (P10, 1’52.575, 14 laps) who was sidelined from the last race due to a thigh injury – and has since been diagnosed with three fractures in his foot – made an impressive start to the weekend in conditions that he thought would be very difficult to ride in with his injuries. He was constantly within sight of the leaders and only the lack of track-time at the end of the session prevented him from making further in-roads on his time and improving his place in the standings.
Álvaro Bautista (P16, 1’54.410, 15 laps) had a big crash in the wet conditions towards the end of the session. He lost grip from the rear of his GSV-R on a right-hand bend and high-sided quite dramatically. Bautista was thrown across the track, but fortunately he was able to walk away uninjured from the accident.
Today should have seen two practice sessions, but torrential rain this morning left standing water on the track and made it impossible for riders to attempt to tackle the 4,182m circuit. This afternoon saw an improvement in the weather as the rain ceased and the sun managed to make an appearance towards the end of the session. The fastest time of the day was set by new World Champion Jorge Lorenzo.
Rizla Suzuki will have one more free practice session tomorrow morning, followed by qualifying in the afternoon – both of which have been increased to an hour to compensate for the lost time this morning. Sunday’s race is the penultimate event of the season and it gets underway at 13.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT).
“Today has been ok when you consider what it was like this morning. When I saw all that rain I was a bit angry, because it would have been a lot harder for me to ride in those conditions. I use my body more in the wet and I have to push down a lot on my feet so this was going to be a problem, but the feeling was not too bad and it felt much better than in Australia. We have improved a lot since the last time out and we continued to improve in the session. I am only in 10th position, but quite happy because we were quite close to the top throughout the session and for us this is good. At the end, as the track improved, I came in to fix some things and the bike was ready just a couple of minutes before the end, but the conditions were changing so quickly it wasn’t worth going out because it was too risky. I hope that we can have a positive weekend here in Portugal – we really need it!”
“Today has been a strange day because it was impossible to ride this morning due to so much water on the track – it would have made it very dangerous out there. This afternoon it was still very wet, but at least we were able to go out. During the session I improved my time step-by-step, but I felt that the bike didn’t quite have enough grip as I entered the corners. I tried to push a bit harder, but the grip stayed the same so I pushed a little bit more each lap and at the end I lost the rear and could do nothing to stop the crash. The important thing is that I am ok and we will see tomorrow if we can improve this problem with grip, because it is making it difficult to go fast.”
bwin Grande Premio de Portugal Free Practice Classification:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’48.522: 2. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +0.135: 3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +0.361: 4. Casey Stoner (Ducati) +0.539: 5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +1.199: 10. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +4.053: 16. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +5.888: