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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Encouraging first day at Suzuki’s home Grand Prix

Rizla Suzuki had a positive first day’s practice in Motegi with both riders in touching distance of a top-five position.

Loris Capirossi (P9, 1’49.568, 23 laps) made a strong return from his recent injury as he was consistently inside the top-10 throughout the hour-long session. Although he had some discomfort from the wound that was the result of extensive surgery to save his little finger, Capirossi was pleased with his first day’s work and is sure that as he gets stronger and improves the bike to compensate for the injury, his times and position will also improve.

Álvaro Bautista (P12, 1’49.644, 24 laps) also had a good first day, finishing only 0.342 seconds off fifth place – despite not being able to find the grip he was looking for around the 4,801m Japanese circuit. The Spaniard was in a very confident mood and is looking to impress over the weekend at Suzuki’s home Grand Prix.

Today’s practice session was held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures reaching 41ºC. The fastest time of the day was set by reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi on his Factory Yamaha.

Rizla Suzuki has one more practice session tomorrow morning, before an hour of qualifying in the afternoon will decide grid positions for Sunday’s 24-lap race.

Loris Capirossi:

“Overall I am happy with my condition today, I didn’t quite ride like I wanted to – or know that I can – but I found a good feeling with the bike and the team took a big step in the session to help me. To run in the top-10 in the first practice – and be only a couple of tenths off the top-five – is really good for me. We have to keep improving and with my condition – which I felt today was not 100% – we have to keep working hard to make the bike better for me to ride.”

Álvaro Bautista:

“It has been quite a good first practice compared with some of the other races. I started with the harder compound tyres, but I didn’t feel much rear grip exiting the corners so I changed to the softer version and that was better. I also tried the soft front later in the session, because under hard braking conditions it was difficult to turn the bike with the harder compound, but this didn’t seem to make much difference so we switched back to the previous one. I do still have a bit of a problem with the exit from the corner because I don’t really have good grip and we must work to improve this as quickly as possible. Tomorrow we have a lot to do, but I am happy with today because I am not that far from fifth position and this means that we are going in the right direction. I want to have a good weekend here in Suzuki’s homeland and my team and I will try as hard as we can to get a good result.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“After yesterday’s deluge everybody was happy to see the sun shining and to be able to get some work done. Following extensive surgery to save his little finger, Loris is obviously riding in some pain, but the base level of the GSV-R and his fitness has been enough for quite a competitive showing – especially when we consider that Loris did the whole session on the same set of tyres. Álvaro has also shown strong and consistent pace in this first session and whilst he is looking for improved rear grip – and additional steps in performance – the base for the weekend seems quite solid. Suzuki has brought some updates here to Motegi and they look like they’ll help us come race day. The whole team would like to thank the factory engineers for their continued efforts to improve the performance level of the GSV-R.”

Grand Prix of Japan Free Practice Classification:

1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’48.174: 2. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +0.213: 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.300: 4. Casey Stoner (Ducati) +0.307: 5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +1.128: 9. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.394: 12. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.470:

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