Loris is the highest placed of the Bridgestone riders
An ever resurgent Loris Capirossi finished the opening day of practice for this weekend's German Grand Prix with the third fastest time (1m23.490s) to be the highest placed of the six Bridgestone-shod riders.
team-mate Sete Gibernau, making his return to race weekend action after the Catalan Grand Prix crash one month ago, concluded Sachsenring practice in ninth position (1m24.022s). The Ducati riders amassed 93 laps of the 3.67km track between them and look set to play a significant role in this weekend's race.
Suzuki's John Hopkins took sixth place in the combined practice standings (1m23.693s), just two-tenths adrift of Capirossi's time. Hopkins will be looking to add more points to his championship tally on Sunday having broken into the top ten as a result of the British GP a fortnight ago. Fellow Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen (1m25.092s) had a difficult day on his first trip to the Sachsenring and was classified 17th at the end of the second session.
Sachsenring plays host to the Bavaria-based Kawasaki Racing Team's home grand prix this weekend. Riders Shinya Nakano and Randy de Puniet put in a solid performance on the opening day with Nakano (1m24.190s) in 13th and De Puniet (1m24.582s) in 14th despite a crash midway through the second of today's sessions.
Bridgestone developed special harder compound tyres for use in this weekend's GP, which perform better with higher track temperatures than greeted riders today. With the track today in excess of twenty degrees cooler compared to yesterday and lower than the forecast currently predicts for the remainder of the weekend, results from today's practice may prove inconclusive. Bridgestone is still optimistic for a good result this weekend and has tried to cover all bases where the weather is concerned with alternative compounds also at teams' disposal in case Mother Nature opts to intervene on Saturday.
Shinji Aoki, Assistant Manager Motorcycle Race Tire Development, said: "Again, the weather has dictated our results from the opening day. We arrived to glorious summer sunshine yesterday which was in line with our expectations, but mysteriously the temperatures have dipped today. The specific tyre compound we used today was intended for track temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius, so we did not get the desired effect on asphalt some ten degrees cooler. For that reason, it was pleasing to see Loris and John still able to lap within half-a-second of the pace. We expect an upturn in temperature from tomorrow which will hopefully lead to a consequent improvement in performance and place each of our teams in a position to challenge the frontrunners. As usual, we have an hour of practice tomorrow morning during which to reassess the situation and to get ourselves ready Sunday's race. Qualifying will play an important role in that with the difficulty in overtaking at this track, so we are aiming to get on the front row for the tenth time in succession tomorrow afternoon."