“Everything is looking pretty good”
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Casey Stoner stormed to his fourth consecutive pole position this afternoon at Misano, bettering his nearest rival, Valentino Rossi, by 0.176 seconds.
It was the Australian's fifth pole on his Desmosedici
GP7. Team-mate Loris Capirossi had a more difficult day at the revamped venue on Italy's Adriatic coast, ending the session in 13th position.
Stoner, who currently leads the World Championship by 60 points after ruling the last two MotoGP events, is once again in superb form. He was third fastest in yesterday's only session, run in treacherous wet conditions before torrential rain forced the cancellation of the afternoon outing, and was comfortably fastest in this morning's special two-hour session, run in the dry.
His dominant pace on both race tyres and qualifiers is impressive, considering that riders have had only three hours of dry track time at a circuit that's new to MotoGP, requiring riders and their technicians to start from zero on bike set-up and tyre choice.
Capirossi and his crew are working hard at improving their engine and chassis settings at this technically challenging circuit and hope to make further progress in tomorrow morning's warm-up session.
CASEY STONER, pole position, 1m 33.918s
"We haven't turned all my poles so far this year into wins. I'd like to think we could do that tomorrow but I think it's going to be a very hard race - nobody's really got the ideal setting because we've all had only a small amount of time and experience on this track. Also, yesterday's rain forced the cancellation of the afternoon session, with an extra hour added on to this morning's session, so everything's been a bit messed up. Anyway, we are pretty happy with the settings we have at the moment - we were fast this morning when we did race distance on our softest compound race tyres and everything is looking pretty good for the race. But we'll just have to wait and see, because I'm not really sure about everyone else's situation."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 13th fastest, 1m 35.283s
"It's not been a very positive day for us, we've really struggled to find a good set-up. I'm having a lot of problems with turning - the bike doesn't turn the way I want it to turn and when I force it the front tucks and I risk crashing. This is a big problem at this track because there are a lot of corners that turn back on themselves.
We are also working on the engine because it feels very aggressive but it's difficult to set up. We haven't had so much time on this track and that doesn't help either. Tyres are not a problem, we have a good front and a good rear. We've chosen hard compounds. Anyway, we will use morning warm-up as another test session, even if it's quite short. We will try some other changes and we'll see what happens. If we can better my pace by four or five tenths I can hope to have a good race."