Capirossi leads Bridgestone's Brno charge Loris Capirossi will lead the charge for Bridgestone in tomorrow's Czech Republic Grand Prix starting from second place on the grid for the third time this season. The Italian rider only missed out on...
Capirossi leads Bridgestone's Brno charge
Loris Capirossi will lead the charge for Bridgestone in tomorrow's Czech Republic Grand Prix starting from second place on the grid for the third time this season. The Italian rider only missed out on his second pole of the year by 0.25s in a tantalising finish to this afternoon's qualifying session which saw Valentino Rossi take pole position.
Capirossi's lap of 1m56.441s represents a 1.2s increase over his qualifying time from 2005, which demonstrates the huge strides made by Bridgestone year-on-year. The previous pole position record was held by Sete Gibernau, who is being replaced by Alex Hofmann in the Ducati Corse team this weekend due to his recent shoulder surgery. Hofmann finished in 14th position after this afternoon's qualifying hour, but will be looking to make headway in the 22-lap race.
Shinya Nakano took his Kawasaki to fifth on the grid extending his unbeaten run of consecutive top ten qualifying positions. In a strong performance for the team, Randy de Puniet made it two Kawasakis in the top ten by claiming tenth place. John Hopkins' seventh place for tomorrow's event produced a quartet of Bridgestone riders to frequent to the top ten, but his Suzuki team-mate Chris Vermeulen will start further back from 13th.
Bridgestone's race preparations this weekend have extended beyond simply bringing the most recently-developed family of compounds. The tyre manufacturer's diligence in learning lessons from previous GPs has also resulted in the production of more Brno-oriented tyres, which have proven to be competitive over the course of the weekend.
Shinji Aoki -- Bridgestone Motorsport - Assistant Manager Motorcycle Race Tire Development "We are very pleased with the outcome of today's qualifying, although it is unfortunate that Loris was pipped to pole at the very last minute. We have four Bridgestone riders in the top ten, but I actually draw more confidence from our performance over the long runs we carried out in free practice. We developed a new compound family which we have tried for the first time this weekend. Some of our teams have found these tyres to work well with their machines and in the case of Kawasaki has resulted in some encouraging lap times in race trim. Some riders have not found these tyres to their liking at this track and have instead preferred an alternative compound which we purposely produced and brought to the Czech Republic based on previous experience and analysis results. Brno is a demanding track technically and the bike set-up and handling can be a hugely influential factor on the performance of the tyre. We are working closely with each of our teams to select the most competitive Bridgestone tyre for their package. Looking at the long runs, I think we can see a Bridgestone-shod bike race at the front tomorrow. Loris completed 15 laps on race tyres this morning and has been one of the quickest all weekend, so my initial caution is gradually turning into more solid confidence for tomorrow, despite the threat of rain."
Loris Capirossi -- Ducati Corse: "At the end of yesterday's first practice session, I felt like going home but yesterday afternoon we made some crucial adjustments to our settings that worked well. Then we had a big meeting in the evening and decided to make a big change to the geometry. Today we discovered that this radical change gave us a big improvement that could also be useful in the future. This morning I was fastest on race tyres and this afternoon we rode full race-distance and I did a 57.7 also on race tyres. We used a new rear today, softer than yesterday's tyre and similar to last year's Brno tyre, but better. I am really happy and confident because the bike and tyres are working well, so I expect a good race, though we will have to see what happens. Of course, it is a pity not to have pole but at the end of the session I preferred not to take big risks that might ruin all our good work. Second fastest and on the front row is enough, because no-one remembers what happens on Saturday, it is the race that matters.