Italian GP: Rizla Suzuki qualifying report

Capirossi flies to front row start in Mugello Loris Capirossi secured his first front row start of the season as he powered his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to third place on the grid for tomorrow's Italian GP. Capirossi (1'48.313, 26 laps) showed his...

Capirossi flies to front row start in Mugello

Loris Capirossi secured his first front row start of the season as he powered his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to third place on the grid for tomorrow's Italian GP.

Capirossi (1'48.313, 26 laps) showed his intentions from this morning's free practice session onwards. He was third quickest in the hour long session - even though a large amount of time was lost to bad weather. The experienced Italian used all his home-track knowledge today to record some very fast and consistent race simulation laps and will be looking to translate that form - and his best starting position since 2006 - into his best result of the season so far tomorrow.

Chris Vermeulen (P11, 1'49.220, 26 laps) was also very quick on his Bridgestone race tyres, with lap-times consistently in the top six during the first part of this afternoon's practice session. Suzuki's Australian star will start from the middle of the fourth row after his qualifying laps didn't go quite as planned, he was unable to get a clean lap of the 5.2km Mugello circuit and will need to get a good start tomorrow to make sure he is challenging at the front.

Today's qualifying was held in sunny conditions -- the first session of the weekend that hasn't been disrupted by wet weather -- with air temperatures reaching the mid-twenties and track surface temperature getting up to 39ºC. Pole position was taken by Capirossi's compatriot Valentino Rossi on his factory Yamaha.

Tomorrow's race is round six of the MotoGP World Championship and the lights change to signal the start of the 23-lap event at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT), when both Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racers will be pushing to the limits for the best results possible.

Loris Capirossi:

"It is a really good day for me! We have worked really hard right from first thing this morning and the team made a very clever and good job because they changed a lot of settings today - the bike was much better! Also we got a good rhythm with the race tyre and that was important for us as we didn't get a lot of time to get the set-up right -- Stuart and the guys have done a great job today! I was a bit lucky on qualifying because I followed Valentino and he made an amazing time and I risked a lot on that lap to keep with him. I am happy to be on the front row and tomorrow is the first time this year we have had a good opportunity to fight for the podium, but I won't be going out for just that. I will be going for the win!"

Chris Vermeulen:

"Today was a lot better condition wise, but like everyone else we were a day behind. So with just today to get the set-up right we had a lot of work to do to get the bike to its best possible character and to choose the tyres for the race. With the track being hot today we went with quite hard Bridgestone race tyres and I felt my race-pace was quicker than last year and I was up with the front group without having to push too much. On the qualifiers it's such a long lap and a difficult circuit that you really need to get a very clean lap for a good time, and unfortunately I didn't make one -- or if it seemed like I was going to I got held up by slower riders. We're only a couple of tenths-of-a-second off being a row further up, but our race pace is strong and a with a good start tomorrow I'm sure we are capable of running in the top-five!"

Paul Denning -- Team Manager:

"I am pleased for the whole team that we are back on the front row, and for it to happen for Loris at his home Grand Prix is even more satisfying, especially after all the hard work he has put in since he joined Suzuki. It is a great reward for everyone's efforts! He has also done some great lap-times on the Bridgestone race tyres and his determination being as high as it is I can't see the front group getting away from him tomorrow without a massive fight! We are looking forward to his best race -- so far -- on a Rizla Suzuki.

"Chris's story is a bit different and we really feel for him because he's improved his qualifying technique a lot this season and he pushed to the maximum today, but just never managed to string the perfect lap together. His true potential was around sixth position rather than 11th, but the good news is that he has a very quick and consistent race pace and a set-up that he is really pleased with. If he can get a start similar to Le Mans I am sure he will be right up there with the quick boys!"

-credit: suzuki-racing.com

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Chris Vermeulen , Paul Denning