Qatar : Ducati – Day One
Ducati Marlboro Team men Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi were third and eighth quickest during the first two sessions at Losail today, the first day of MotoGP's new 800cc era.
Stoner, making his GP debut for the team, was less than three
tenths off ‘provisional pole', pronouncing himself happy with progress. Capirossi meanwhile worked on perfecting a radical new chassis set-up with one of his Desmosedici GP7s.
Today also saw the implementation of MotoGP's new tyre regulations that restrict each rider to 14 front slicks and 17 rear slicks per weekend. The team has been preparing for the new rules by working closely with Bridgestone during winter testing.
CASEY STONER, 3rd fastest, 1m 56.745s
"We found some reasonably good tyres and straight away we were quicker than in testing a few weeks back, plus the track condition is good, so I'm really happy. This morning and this afternoon I only had one set of tyres each session, so I'm quite happy with tyre life and the way they've performed. This afternoon we ran into a few little problems with the bike but other than that everything is going quite well. We had to work at getting some traction with the last tyre I used, the front end wasn't turning as well as we'd like it to, so we improved that a little bit towards the end. We've still got a fair bit to go through tomorrow, though we've pretty much narrowed rear choice down to two tyres. The new tyre rules aren't a drama - during testing we worked with that system to get accustomed to it, though we pretty much know what tyres to use here and Jerez because we've tested at both tracks recently, so we've been able to minimise the selection."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 8th fastest, 1m 57.
"We started here with two different chassis set-ups, with very different settings in the rear end. I first tried one of these solutions at Jerez and I liked it very much, so I am continuing in this direction, though after just two hours of practice it's not yet perfect for this track. We use a very hard front here, a specific tyre for this circuit only, and I don't yet feel 100 per cent confident in the tyre, but Casey is using the same front and he's done a lot of laps with it and done some very fast times, so that gives me confidence. The new tyre rules do change the strategy of practice. You are restricted to how many tyres you can use, so sometimes you have to do a lot of laps on a tyre even if you don't feel totally happy with it. But it's the same for everyone and it's okay. The bike is working very well in race trim, racing is always different from practicing, so I'm feeling positive about the race."