Ducati Marlboro Team rider Loris Capirossi put in a storming qualifying performance at Donington Park today, going fifth quickest despite suffering from the chest injuries he sustained in the turn-one crash at Catalunya two weeks ago. Alex...
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Loris Capirossi put in a storming qualifying performance at Donington Park today, going fifth quickest despite suffering from the chest injuries he sustained in the turn-one crash at Catalunya two weeks ago. Alex Hofmann, substituting for Sete Gibernau who broke a collarbone in the same accident, was 15th fastest in this afternoon's warm, muggy conditions.
Courageous Capirossi ended the session just 0.718 seconds off pole position and is particularly happy with his pace on race tyres. Practice and qualifying for tomorrow's race, which will be the 20th Donington Park motorcycle Grand Prix, underlined the immense progress made by Bridgestone tyres during the past year. Last July Bridgestone struggled in dry conditions at Donington; today the Japanese manufacturer had five riders in the top seven.
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 5th fastest, 1m 28.394s "It was a very good idea to miss yesterday's second free practice session because when I am rested and relaxed I can ride much better. I rode both sessions today because Alex uses different tyres, so the work he does with tyres isn't so useful to me. As usual, my chest started to hurt after about 30 minutes of riding. I did do a 14-lap run but the race is 30 laps, so I've decided to miss morning warm-up to save myself for the race. I won't use pain-killers and I think I will be able to run a good race pace. If I was 100 per cent fit I would have done better today but considering my condition fifth place is not so bad. I'm happy with Bridgestone because last year we had some problems here but they've made good progress since then. I only did a half race-distance run but I'm happy with our race tyres. I'm quite confident for tomorrow, I'll just try and relax as much as I can before the race."
ALEX HOFMANN, 15th fastest, 1m 29.479s "Fifteenth place obviously isn't what I was looking for today but I almost did my fastest laps on race tyres, not qualifiers. We didn't start so good yesterday and we've been behind ever since, so we were still working on set-up in the afternoon session. I'm happy I found a way to do 29s on race tyres, we just need to make it a bit more comfortable so I can do that over race distance. At the end of the session I tried three specs of qualifying tyre, the first two didn't suit my style and that lost me some confidence at a crucial moment. The third made me faster than on race tyres but we missed the chance to do a second run on another of that tyre by just a few seconds, so we were a bit unlucky. The start of the race will be extra important because it's not easy to overtake here. Everybody is going to be very keen to make some passes on the first lap."