STORMING STONER JUST 0.1 SECONDS OFF POLE IN CLOSEST TOP TEN EVER Ducati Marlboro Team man Casey Stoner rode a superb qualifying session at Jerez today to take a second-row start just 0.122 seconds off pole position. Team-mate Loris Capirossi...
STORMING STONER JUST 0.1 SECONDS OFF POLE IN CLOSEST TOP TEN EVER
Ducati Marlboro Team man Casey Stoner rode a superb qualifying session at Jerez today to take a second-row start just 0.122 seconds off pole position. Team-mate Loris Capirossi had a tougher day, with 15th fastest time, still less than a second off pole.
World Championship leader Stoner made the running on race tyres this afternoon, leading the first 40 minutes, then twice returned to pole on his two runs with qualifying tyres before slipping to an ultra-close fifth quickest. Just 0.325 seconds cover the top ten riders, the closest top ten in premier-class history.
Capirossi, winner here last year, will make some big changes for morning warm-up to improve his chances in the race. Tomorrow's Spanish GP will be his 250th GP start. The Italian made his GP debut at Suzuka, Japan, exactly 17 years ago on March 25 1990.
Casey Stoner, 5th fastest, 1m 39.524s
"This morning we were struggling with a few set-up problems, we seemed to go backward with the turning and the grip. So we looked over everything, saw what we needed and came up with a good package before the afternoon session. We hadn't been able to find a good feeling with the second bike, so we swapped the forks out of the first bike and that seemed to solve the problem. Straight away I felt comfortable, we made a couple more changes during the session and our race pace is looking very good. I'm not sure if the problem was in my head or in the forks! I don't know which bike we'll race, both have performed pretty well. We found out what race tyre we wanted in the last session and if it's around this temperature tomorrow we're going to be pretty happy. Qatar worked out perfectly and this weekend could do the same but we've got to be realistic because there's going to be a lot more riders up front in this race. As you saw last year the first turn can be a bit rough here, I think I went from 15th to fifth, you never know what can happen at this track."
Loris Capirossi, 15th fastest, 1m 40.391s
"We started the qualifying session quite well, I was soon faster on race tyres. But then I took two big risks and nearly lost the front, and given that the crash I had in Qatar was because I lost the front, and we still don't know why, I lost a bit confidence in the front. We tried to make some small set-up changes, but with no success, so we have decided to make quite a drastic change for morning warm-up, trying to put more weight on the front. Anyway, our race rhythm isn't so bad. We are all very, very close and in the race the situation is always different from practice. We have to get the maximum from the warm-up and to try to do our best in the race."