French GP: Rizla Suzuki Friday report

Bautista battles the pain on first day in Le Mans Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista had to contend with severe discomfort and pain during the first practice session at Le Mans in France today. Bautista suffered a broken collarbone just over a...

Bautista battles the pain on first day in Le Mans

Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista had to contend with severe discomfort and pain during the first practice session at Le Mans in France today.

Bautista suffered a broken collarbone just over a week ago and had surgery to plate the break only last Friday, but he worked hard on his fitness during the last seven days and was back in the saddle of his Suzuki GSV-R for this afternoon's session. He battled manfully for 19 laps of 4,185m French track, recording a fastest time of 1'37.525. Bautista used no pain-killing treatment before today's session and will re-assess his condition after tomorrow morning's final practice session to judge whether he is fit enough to race on Sunday.

Loris Capirossi (P11, 1'35.685, 23 laps) had a strong and productive first day. He only used one set of Bridgestone tyres for the whole session and is confident that tomorrow will bring a more positive result. He was in-touch with the front group throughout the day and will be determined to be right in amongst that group on race-day. Today's practice was held in warm and sunny conditions with air temperatures getting up to 28oC. Valentino Rossi on his factory Yamaha set the fastest time of the day.

Rizla Suzuki has one more hour of free practice on Saturday morning, followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's 28-lap race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) when hopefully both Rizla Suzuki riders will line up on the grid.

Alvaro Bautista:

"I thought that I would feel better today than I do! I have worked very hard this week to be fit and I was confident that I would be able to ride the bike. It was very difficult though, because after two or three laps I started to lose energy and my left arm was hurting a lot and I couldn't ride like I wanted to. Tomorrow I will have a pain-killing injection and hopefully the pain will be less. I will then make a decision if I continue with the weekend, today the maximum I felt I could do was five laps and the race is 28, so I still have a long way to go. I will try with the injection and see if things improve."

Loris Capirossi:

"I did the whole session with one set of tyres - and on my own - so I could see where we were at. It was a pretty good session, but right at the end we made a different setting that didn't work at all, so that was a bit disappointing. We do have a good base to work on now and we will definitely improve tomorrow. Everything seems to be going ok at the moment, so we hope things stay that way and we'll have good weekend."

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"Alvaro chose to ride today with no pain-killers and no injection, to assess exactly where he was at and he certainly lost his sun-tan over the course of the session! Motorcycle racers are a tough breed, but there comes a point when pain and lack of strength will win the day. Hopefully with some physiotherapy tonight and the injection in the morning, we'll be in a better position to understand if a full race distance on Sunday is possible.

"I think Loris is in a stronger position that the timesheet shows. He used the same tyres for the whole session and the final setting unfortunately took us back a couple of steps. I think Loris can improve a lot tomorrow and get close to the fight with the front group."

-source: rizla suzuki

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Alvaro Bautista , Paul Denning