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Rizla Suzuki Sepang MotoGP – Qualifying

Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi made a sensational return to track action in this afternoon’s qualifying session, after a huge crash this morning completely wiped out his final practice session.

Capirossi (P9, 2’02.522, 18 laps) crashed on his first lap during this morning’s session and was taken from the trackside by stretcher, he was immediately transferred to the medical centre where an x-ray, and further investigations by the Clinica Mobile, found no fractures to his injured right foot. He was diagnosed with severe bruising to the heel and ankle area and was passed fit to ride for the afternoon. Capirossi started the qualifying session in a determined mood to make up for lost time, making changes to his Suzuki GSV-R to help him compensate for his injured foot, before attacking the 5,548m Sepang circuit to get the best qualifying position for tomorrow’s race. His gallant efforts at the end of the session were rewarded, as on his final lap he recorded his best time of the day and forced himself on to the third row. Capirossi will have further treatment to his foot this evening to ensure he is as fit as possible for tomorrow’s race.

Álvaro Bautista (P8, 2’02.394, 24 laps) continued with his strong run of form to record his best qualifying position of the year. He will start from the middle of the third row, but could have easily been higher up the grid if he had not made a mistake on his final flying lap. Bautista is happy with his set-up for race day and is convinced that he can go faster tomorrow.

Today’s qualifying was again held in very hot conditions with track temperatures reaching 52ºC. World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo took his sixth pole position of the year, as he attempts to secure the title at Sepang tomorrow.

Sunday’s event is round 15 of the season and the 20-lap race will get underway at 16.00hrs local time (08.00hrs GMT), with both Rizla Suzuki racers and the rest of the field hoping that the late afternoon Malaysian rain stays away and allows for a dry and exciting race.

Loris Capirossi:

“I am a little bit upset about this morning, I felt quite confident about coming here because we did a good winter test and I thought we could do well this weekend, so what happened this morning was very disappointing. This afternoon I tried to ride the best I could, but my condition is not so good so I am pleased to get on to the third row. We will have to see what happens tomorrow, because we are still struggling a bit with electronics – although we did find a solution near the end of the session. I am positive about the race and hope to have a better day tomorrow than I did today. I am happy that I was still able to get on the bike and ride after such a big crash and I will still be trying to do my best tomorrow for the whole team.”

Álvaro Bautista:

“It’s strange because this has been my best qualifying position of the season but I feel like it is not enough. We still need to be positive about it though because we are in a better position than we have been before and we have to try to make the most of that. I did a long run on the softer compound tyres today and was able to cover a race distance, maybe grip went in the final lap, but in this category the first laps are very important so we still have to decide if we are going to use the softer option and get the maximum early on. I used a new rear tyre at the end of the session and improved my lap-time and in the last lap I made a mistake in T2, but my T1 and T3 was better than my fastest lap so maybe I could have improved my time and been further up the grid. The time between first and me is not too big and if I can get a good start tomorrow I think I can stay with the group in front and follow them – the first laps here will be very important so I must make the most of them.”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“The Malaysian Grand Prix weekend has been absolutely horrible for Loris so far. This morning’s crash was very violent and very painful and it was amazing that he managed to get back out there this afternoon. His crash did mean that the technical improvements that we were seeking were impossible to find with the bike sat in the pit-box. He can’t bear any weight on his right foot, so for him to qualify on the third row is simply an heroic achievement. Race distance is going to be very tough, but we thank Loris for his efforts today and hope that his condition is much improved tomorrow morning.

“Álvaro’s session was really strange because he didn’t find the rhythm or the track position to realise his true potential and when he was in the right position he made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes. Despite that his qualifying place of eighth is the best of the season and he believes strongly that he can improve during the race – we believe completely in his potential and we’re looking forward to the Grand Prix.”

Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix Qualifying Classification:

1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’01.537: 2. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +0.100: 3. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +0.292: 4. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +0.456: 5. Casey Stoner (Ducati) +0.486: 8. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +0.857: 9. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +0.985:

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