Capirossi out of luck
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi will start tomorrow's Catalan Grand Prix from the second and sixth rows of the grid after contrasting fortunes in this afternoon's qualifying session, run in blazing hot sunshine.
Championship leader Stoner ended the session a close fourth quickest, less than three tenths off pole, but more crucially for tomorrow his pace in race trim was extremely impressive after his crew modified his set-up to give him more grip during this morning's session, when they also selected Bridgestone tyres that offer brilliant performance at this technically demanding track.
Capirossi had a luckless afternoon, even though he had been happy enough with his race pace in the earlier sessions. Eighth fastest in free practice he did three runs on qualifiers, none of which produced the expected results. His first run was cut short by a technical glitch, his second was spoiled by traffic and he wasn't keen on the new qualifier he tried during his final outing.
CASEY STONER, 4, 1'42.117
"This morning we did pretty much full distance on race tyres with no real dramas. We're really happy but we haven't got enough quantity of that tyre, so we just threw on some other ones for this afternoon's session and we still managed to go pretty quick, quicker than everybody else on race tyres. We're happy enough with that and I think we're just going to leave the settings as they are for tomorrow, it's looking good. The tyres we've chosen, the hotter the weather the better they work, so this afternoon they probably would've worked better again. This morning we definitely found a bit more grip, which is helping a lot in the long corners, we just balanced out the bike some more, so it's not too much on the front or too much on the rear. My qualifying runs were a little disappointing, I thought we could've done a little better but the way we've got the bike set up at the moment it works better with race tyres.
Anyway, we're still not too far off and we're on the second row again."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 17, in 1'43.948
"Clearly, this is the worse Saturday I've had so far. When I went out with my first qualifier I had a technical glitch with the bike I had been using all weekend, so I had to get back to the garage on a scooter. On my next run aboard my number-two bike, my best lap was ruined by Barros, who was going very slowly in the middle on the track. That was very disappointing but, okay, that kind of thing can happen when there are a lot of riders on track. I had a third qualifying tyre available but it was a new tyre that we'd never tried and it didn't work to my satisfaction. So today was very disappointing indeed, especially because we aren't so bad in race trim. Maybe I wasn't the fastest out there but I am not that bad So I am starting from the very, very back of the grid which means I will have to fight hard. At least there are many passing points at this track and I should be able to ride a reasonable rhythm. We will see what happens, I hope to do much better than today and bring home some good points."