STONER ON ROW TWO & SUPER QUICK IN RACE TRIM, CAPIROSSI ALSO HAPPY WITH HIS RACE PACE Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi qualified fifth and 13th quickest at Donington Park this afternoon. Both today's sessions were run...
STONER ON ROW TWO & SUPER QUICK IN RACE TRIM, CAPIROSSI ALSO HAPPY WITH HIS RACE PACE
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi qualified fifth and 13th quickest at Donington Park this afternoon. Both today's sessions were run in cloudy but dry conditions after yesterday's deluge, allowing riders to work on dry set-up for the first time this weekend.
World Championship leader Stoner showed superb race pace throughout the day but was out of luck on his crucial final qualifying run. The Australian was on course for a front row start until a moment at the final hairpin. Capirossi, using Bridgestone's new 16 inch rear slick, was also confident of moving up the order but got the chequered flag as he started what he hoped would be his best lap. Nonetheless the Italian is happy enough because he also showed good speed in race trim. Tomorrow's weather forecast predicts further rain with sunny intervals.
CASEY STONER, 5th fastest, 1m 29.061s
"On race tyres we're pretty well safe and looking pretty good, and we should be able to make a couple more improvements before the race if we get a dry warm-up session. Qualifying was unbelievably disappointing, the electronics were playing up, every time the tyre would spin just a little bit the engine cuts would start, so I couldn't get on the gas and I was losing tenths on the exit of every corner. So I decided to do two laps on that qualifying tyre and the second lap wasn't too bad because I had learned how to ride around the cuts. Then going into the last turn the bike hit neutral, so I had no engine braking, so I was entering the corner too quick. I got it back into first but unfortunately I just had to push it in there too hard to try and make the corner and nearly lost it, but I've got a pretty good feeling with the tyres because the Bridgestones actually give me feeling so it's a little bit easier to save. We tried the 16 inch rear this morning but we're going to stick with what I know and just make sure I make everything right. We have got a good race pace so we've got to look at that now since qualifying was kind of a disappointment. It doesn't really matter if the race is wet or dry because we're also pretty quick in the wet but it would probably be a lot safer having a dry race. One or the other, wet or dry, is okay, we'd just rather it wasn't something in between."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 13th fastest, 1m 29.900s
"When I saw Casey had done two laps with a qualifying tyre I decided to do the same. But on the first lap I almost lost the bike twice, so I slowed down a little, then when I crossed the line I got the chequered flag, so I missed the chance to do another lap. Anyway, I'm quite happy because my race rhythm isn't so bad. Today I made a different choice to Casey - I used the new 16 inch rear, which seems to give me better traction. I did 27 laps with the tyre and it performed well throughout, so I think I'll use it in the race, weather permitting, because the forecast isn't good. Today we understood a lot on bike set-up, we changed the engine settings slightly and all the changes we've made have given me a better feeling with the bike, both in the wet and the dry. That makes me confident, even if qualifying didn't go so well."