“We're very confident”
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Casey Stoner will start tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix from the front row of the grid after qualifying a close second fastest this afternoon.
Team-mate Loris Capirossi had a more difficult day and will start the
14th round of the 2007 MotoGP series from the fifth row.
Stoner was in superb form, running an impressive pace on both race tyres and qualifiers. The World Championship leader was astonishing to watch as he danced over Estoril's bumps with his Desmosedici GP7 to end qualifying just 0.040 seconds off pole position. This is the Australian's sixth consecutive front-row performance, following four successive poles.
Capirossi meanwhile has struggled to get the best out of his GP7 and could only manage 15th fastest this afternoon.
CASEY STONER, 2nd fastest, 1m 36.341s
"We are very happy with the way things have gone today and over the weekend in general, so we're very confident. The team has done a great job, we found a very good setting immediately and we have a very good feeling with the bike, so I think everything is looking good for the race. During today's two sessions we put race distance on two race tyres and we were still running some pretty good lap times and feeling quite comfortable on old tyres, so it's been a very positive day in that way. This track is pretty hard work for the tyres, so tyre degradation is going to be a very important factor at the end of the race. I'm quite happy with the set-up we've got, we just need to refine it a bit tomorrow morning to improve the traction to understand how the tyre will be at the end of the race, then we'll see what happens. We thought we had a chance at pole this afternoon and we were close - things seem to be going quite well for us this year."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 15th fastest, 1m 37.733s
"This is like a bad dream, I would really like things to be totally different. We are trying a lot of changes to the bike set-up but without finding a solution to our problems.
We've struggled a lot this weekend because I cannot ride the bike the way I want to ride it - I have problems with the set-up in general and with the power delivery in particular. I don't think we can expect a miracle tomorrow but we need to stay focused and try to get a good start. I'll fight as always, but I'm obviously not happy with the situation."