Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi got the weekend of the Malaysian Grand Prix off to an encouraging start as he recorded the sixth fastest time around the 5,548m Sepang International Circuit.
Capirossi (2'03.253, 20 laps) made a good start to the first - and only - practice session
on day one by heading the leader-board in the early part of the session.
He made regular adjustments to his Suzuki GSV-R throughout the hour and is confident of making improvements to both the bike and his lap-time as the weekend progresses.
"We did struggle a bit at the beginning as we tried to modify the bike, but the times were still quite good so we knew we were going in the right direction. Towards the end of the session the bike became a bit better, but it is still not perfect so we have a bit of work to do”, he said. “We used two completely different traction controls, we didn't quite get the best feeling from either of them but we certainly have a direction to follow tomorrow with the data we have got from them. Overall it has not been too bad today and we know we can improve quite a bit tomorrow, we have a good plan and if it all goes well we should have a really good weekend."
Chris Vermeulen (2'03.763, 21 laps) produced a solid first day's work by posting the 10th fastest time of the day with his very last lap in the practice session. Vermeulen worked on the good base setting he had for the GSV-R from the winter test and made changes that suited the performance of the new bike, before using the harder compound Bridgestone tyre at the end of the session to good effect to improve on his time.
"It is good to come to a track that the bike performs well at”, he said. “Obviously we have tested a lot here and that meant we had a good set-up right out of the box.
We ran-in some important components during the first part of the session and made sure we got a reasonable feel from the bike. At the end of the session we stuck the harder rear tyre in and got a bit faster. I am reasonably happy with the first session; we've still got some areas to fix, so we'll try a few different things tomorrow to hopefully get it right."
The hot and humid conditions that all the riders and teams expect at Sepang were prevalent today as the air rose to 31ºC and track temperatures got up to 52ºC. Jorge Lorenzo on his factory Yamaha recorded the fastest time of the day.
Rizla Suzuki has one more free practice session tomorrow morning, before an hour of qualifying in the afternoon will decide the grid positions for the race. Sunday's main event will get underway at 15.00hrs local time (07.00hrs GMT).