Australian GP: Suzuki qualifying report

Tough task ahead for Rizla Suzuki at Phillip Island Rizla Suzuki faces an uphill battle at the Australian Grand Prix tomorrow as both racers struggled to come to grips with the chilly conditions at the Phillip Island circuit today. Alvaro ...

Tough task ahead for Rizla Suzuki at Phillip Island

Rizla Suzuki faces an uphill battle at the Australian Grand Prix tomorrow as both racers struggled to come to grips with the chilly conditions at the Phillip Island circuit today.

Alvaro Bautista (P14, 1'33.224, 26 laps) got his first taste of dry conditions around the 4,448m circuit on a MotoGP machine as the expected rain never materialised. Bautista and his crew worked methodically throughout the morning practice session and this afternoon's qualifying to overcome some turning issues he had with his GSV-R through the corners. Towards the end of the afternoon session he thought they had made a breakthrough, but rain started to fall for the final few minutes and he wasn't able to further test the modifications.

Loris Capirossi's (P17, 1'34.269, 17 laps) run of bad luck continued as he yet again found himself in the gravel after a heavy crash. He was looking to improve his grid position as the qualifying period came towards its climax, but he crashed heavily and although he was able to walk away unhurt and make his way back to the garage, the time and conditions were also against Capirossi. As he made preparation's to return to the circuit on his other GSV-R, the first spots of rain started to fall and he had to abort any plans about going back out on track to better his time.

Today's conditions were an improvement on yesterday's, but only in the fact that it stayed dry for most of the two sessions. The cold wind that kept the rain clouds at bay also meant that although the air temperatures reached 11DEGC, the wind chill made it only 6DEGC and kept track temperatures in the low 20s. Local hero Casey Stoner took pole position today as he aims for his fourth successive Australian Grand Prix victory this weekend.

Sunday's race is the 16th on the calendar and will signal the end of a tough three weeks that has seen the Grand Prix circus visit Japan, Malaysia and Australia in consecutive weekends. The main event will get underway tomorrow at 16.00hrs local time (05.00hrs GMT).

Alvaro Bautista:

"It is a much different feeling here today than it was in Malaysia a week ago! We had the opportunity to ride in dry conditions today, but this morning we had a problem with the bike in the corners and I just couldn't make it turn quick enough and I kept going out wide. This meant I couldn't enter fast enough as well so I was losing a lot of time. This afternoon we tried two different specifications on the bikes and one of them was a little bit worse and the other was a bit better -- but still not perfect. We have some hard work to do to still improve, but we have another opportunity in warm-up to try and get things better. We will continue with the way that we followed towards the end of this afternoon's session and see if we can make some more steps forward. We know it's going to be difficult, because after last week I had a lot of confidence coming to this race and thought that we could improve in the colder conditions, but it has been a lot colder than we thought it would be and that has made it a lot more difficult. In the race -- as always -- I will try to do my maximum and get the best result possible. It will be a tough race but I want to fight for a top-10, I know that is going to be hard, but we must try to be there."

Loris Capirossi:

"It was really tough conditions today, but we have a bigger problem at the moment because we don't know why I have crashed again. I went out on a used tyre and I followed Colin -- he had a new front and rear tyre -- and I went slower than him, but when I changed direction to go on the right side the bike just went from under me, this just feels so strange and I don't know why. When you try hard and you make a mistake then it is normal to crash, but I didn't make a mistake so I don't know why the rear went away. I am in a bad position for the start tomorrow, but we will have to see what happens because I know I have to go better in the race."

Tom O'Kane -- Crew Chief Alvaro Bautista:

"It's certainly been a difficult day, but we started to move in a positive direction towards the end of qualifying and it was a shame the rain came when it did. The modification that we made this afternoon was just as we put in the first soft tyre and it was the first step forward that we had taken all day, we will keep working in that direction in warm-up because I think there is still a bit to come from the bike and Alvaro. We usually have a few issues at this track -- that is quite well known -- but our problems are not as drastic as usual, we have grip now where we didn't have before and we just need to work a bit on the turning to give Alvaro the chance to fight further up the field tomorrow."

-source: rizla suzuki

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Alvaro Bautista , Casey Stoner , Phillip Island