Sepang : Ducati - Day 1
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Loris Capirossi has started the Marlboro Malaysian Grand Prix the way he means to carry on, setting a blazing pace to lead both of today's practice sessions, run in typically steamy hot conditions.
Following his dominant
victory in last month's Czech GP, Capirossi is aiming to take another bite out the points leaders this weekend to put himself right back in the hunt for the 2006 MotoGP crown.
Meanwhile team-mate Sete Gibernau is making an impressive comeback following further surgery to the collarbone he broke in June's Catalan GP. The Spaniard first returned to action at July's German GP but the plate screwed to his broken left collarbone later cracked, forcing him to undergo another operation which meant he had to miss the Czech GP. He last rode a bike at the US GP on July 23.
Loris Capirossi (1st, 2m 01.711s)
"We started with one bike using a set-up based on what we used at Brno, the other with a set-up similar to what we ran here during winter tests. I preferred some characters of each, so we are working to create the best combination. Halfway through the afternoon session we did encounter some problems but my guys are working really well, so we quickly found the right way again."
"We are working well together and getting the results we deserve but we have to stay united and focused because our target is to stay in front of the others. Today I went faster than I managed on qualifiers last year though partly because it's cooler now.
I don't think it will be possible to go much faster than today but we will keep working to allow me to be more natural on the bike. Even though Friday results aren't so important I want to dedicate today to my manager Carlo Pernat who isn't here because of a family bereavement. He will be here tomorrow which is great news because I miss having him with me."
Sete Gibernau (8th fastest, 2m 02.981s)
"I'm quite happy with how things are going, though I'm not fully physically fit yet. On the bike I get tired quite quickly because I've not been riding for a long time but mentally I'm okay. I should probably never have raced at Laguna but I was there and I wanted to do my best. That weekend the plate over my collarbone was broken so it was pinching every nerve and every muscle, so I couldn't use the arm."
"The arm is still weak now, though only because I've not been able to follow my usual training programme. The bone is much better. It's going to take time, so for me to be close to the top guys on the first day here gives a lot of credit to Ducati and to Bridgestone who are doing a great job. The guys in the team are helping me out a lot once again, so I want to thank Ducati for all the support they've given me before I came here and now that I am here. My congratulations also to Loris who is already really fast."