Provisional front row for Capirossi at Mugello
Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi started the weekend of his home Grand Prix in Italy in fine form by securing the third fastest time in the first free practice session.
Capirossi (P3, 1'50.359, 22 laps) tried different set-ups in his two Rizla Suzuki GSV-Rs at the start of the session and once he found the direction he was happy with he made huge steps towards bringing down his lap-times. Despite a crash right at the end of the practice -- from which Capirossi walked away unhurt -- he is in a confident and up-beat mood for the rest of the weekend.
Alvaro Bautista (P17, 155.257, 21 laps) was riding a motorcycle for the first time today since the huge high-side that forced him to withdraw from Le Mans two weeks ago and found it tough around the demanding 5,245m Mugello circuit. He will probably have some pain-killing medication tomorrow to help him overcome discomfort he is suffering and is determined to finish Sunday's race in a positive frame of mind.
Today's practice was held in clear and sunny conditions with air temperatures getting up to 26oC and track temperatures reaching 49oC. World Champion Valentino Rossi set the fastest time of the day on his factory Yamaha.
Rizla Suzuki has one more practice session tomorrow morning and a qualifying session in the afternoon to prepare for Sunday's 23-lap race, which gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
"Apart from the crash it has been a very positive day here in Mugello! We started with two different bikes and one was very good and gave me a good feeling. Overall I am very happy with the day's work. I made the mistake and crashed at the end, it was my fault and I know what caused it so it is no big problem. I know we can still improve this weekend and I am confident for the race."
"I had a very hard practice because I thought I was in better condition than I am. I feel better than I did at Le Mans, but it is still very hard to change direction and I don't have enough strength in my left arm to ride the bike how I would like to. I am using all my body and this is making me go slower than I want. My target this weekend is to get more confident with the bike and to get a good feeling. I am determined to finish on Sunday, so that is my first goal."
Paul Denning -- Team Manager:
"After a difficult start to the year it is obviously encouraging to see Loris put the bike in the top-three. The guys have made some setting changes which have helped his confidence and feedback on the bike. There are still some decent steps to make, but I think we have a good base to work from for the rest of the weekend and although Loris's bike ended up in the gravel trap at the end, let's hope that has got it out of the way for the weekend.
"For Alvaro this afternoon was nothing more than re-acclimatisation and to find out what his body is capable of. After a visit to the Clinica Mobile this evening and perhaps some treatment to reduce the pain significantly tomorrow -- which he didn't have today -- he should be in a position to improve a lot and to do his best to complete the Grand Prix on Sunday."