“We're looking pretty safe again”
Ducati Marlboro Team men Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi made a promising start to the French GP in gloomy and sometimes damp conditions today.
World Championship leader Stoner ended the day sixth fastest, just four tenths off the
fastest lap, while team-mate Loris Capirossi was getting up to speed in 11th spot, eight tenths off ‘pole'.
Stoner pronounced himself confident, his GP7 already performing well at a circuit that's so different from Shanghai, where two weeks ago he won his third race of the year. Capirossi found a good set-up direction this afternoon and would have lapped faster if rain hadn't dampened the track during the final five minutes of the session.
CASEY STONER, 6th fastest, 1m35.759s
"The track's not in the best condition but the lap times we are doing are pretty much on a par with the 990s, and considering this is an acceleration track I think the 800s are doing exceptionally well. We expected this circuit to be a little more difficult but our settings seem pretty good at the moment We're doing the best job we can to get the bike to hook up out of the turns and Bridgestone are doing an excellent job as well. We already smoothed down the rear suspension because I was having a few pumping problems and we also seem to have solved the braking problems we had this morning. Now we just need to make some little tweaks in the front and get a bit more traction in the rear. I went out at the start of this afternoon's session with tyres that had already done six or seven laps and I did race distance no problem.
If it's really hot we've got another set of harder tyres, but the tyres we've got for these conditions are doing race distance absolutely no dramas, so we're looking pretty safe again."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 11th fastest, 1m 36.139s
"We solved the few little problems we had this morning and started this afternoon with a better set-up. We then made a few more minor adjustments during the second session and my last run was quite fast. Unfortunately I was only able to do a couple of laps before it started raining, but we know that we have found the right direction and that's what matters for the rest of the weekend. We tried just one rear tyre today and we have two more to test, so I think it's possible we can also improve that part of the bike. Above all we need to improve our settings for the last part of the track because I'm still slow in the final split. Anyway, I feel good and confident enough for the next two days."