“Overall I'm happy with where we are”
Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi will start his 285th Grand Prix from the second row of the grid tomorrow, as he rode his Suzuki GSV-R to sixth place during a windy Jerez Grand Prix qualifying today.
Capirossi recorded a fastest
time of 1'39.862 from his 20 laps of the 4,423m Spanish circuit, less than a second off pole-setter and home favourite Jorge Lorenzo.
Capirossi made many changes to his bike today during both this morning's free practice session and this afternoon's qualifying. He now believes that tyre-wear will be a big issue for all riders tomorrow, but is convinced he - and his crew - have the GSV-R set-up to go for a high-placed finish.
"Even though we were second yesterday and we were sixth this afternoon, it has been a much better day for us today. We did a great job this morning on the bike's setting and we improved a lot. We tried three different settings and found the best one to preserve the life in the tyre - this is a good step for us”, he said. “The condition this afternoon was very difficult because it was so windy; this is the third race where we have not had perfect conditions. The sun was beautiful, but the wind was very strong and it made it difficult out there. Overall I am happy with where we are and we are ready for the race. We will be on the second row for the third time this year, but we were so close to being on the front row. I will be fighting hard right from the start and try to understand how the tyres will behave and make them last the distance!"
Chris Vermeulen will start from 10th place on the grid as he recorded a best time of 1'40.185 from his 22 laps. Vermeulen worked tirelessly with his crew in both sessions and his confidence rose as the day progressed. Suzuki's Australian star made big steps with the bike and now has a good setting for tomorrow's race. He is targeting to get away well from the start and fight for a top-five position.
"It was not the position we wanted so I am a bit disappointed with that. We made some good steps with the bike and I am now a lot more comfortable on it. It has given me confidence to push a bit more and my speed was definitely up in that session, but we still need to make another step to get totally competitive”, he explained. “In this morning's session I concentrated on using a race-tyre and doing a lot of laps to give us an idea of what it would be like at the end of the race. Tomorrow it will be important to get a good start and move up through the field in the first couple of laps and try to do whatever I can. Hopefully with a good race we can get a top-five position, which is going to be tough from the fourth row, but it's certainly our target!"
Sunday's 27-lap race is the third round on the calendar, and riders and fans alike will be hoping for the good weather that has been present this weekend to continue when the lights change to signal the start of the race at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) tomorrow.