sees Capirossi on the third row
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP’s three-rider attack all gave competitive displays in the varying conditions of yesterday's afternoon’s qualifying session at Sepang in Malaysia.
Loris Capirossi (2’03.078, 22 laps) again led the way for the team as he qualified in the middle of the third row in eighth place. His result could have been even better but a mistake on his last qualifying tyre cost him time when he looked likely to take at least a front row position.
Chris Vermeulen (P11, 2’03.271, 21 laps) topped the timesheet twice through the session as he again showed his prowess in the wet conditions in the early part of the practice. He worked thoroughly with his crew to try wet, intermediate and dry tyres in the damp, but quickly drying, conditions, and was pleased with the performance he got from all compounds.
Nobuatsu Aoki (P18, 2’04.835, 20 laps) improved dramatically during the session and recorded his fastest lap of the weekend towards the end. Aoki was especially satisfied with the set-up of his Suzuki GSV-R in the wet conditions, but has improved the dry settings as well.
Today’s qualifying started with a very wet track after monsoon-like rain fell over the 5,548m circuit, but warm sunny conditions dried the surface enough for riders to use qualifying tyres by the end of the hour. Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will start from pole position for tomorrow’s 21-lap race, which gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (06.00hrs GMT).
“All weekend it has been hard to be competitive with the top riders, but it has been better than we expected and in the different conditions this afternoon we were certainly up with everybody else. The whole team made a really good effort this afternoon because we tried many things and by the end of the session we had a really good setting. It was a bit strange because we started with rain tyres and at the end we were able to use slicks. I made a mistake on my last tyre and that cost me some time, so I could have been a bit higher up the grid. I think we are well prepared and we will have to see what happens, but I think we can have a good race.”
“I am disappointed with my grid position, but very happy with the way we worked during the whole session. We were quick on wets, on in-between tyres and quick on the slicks. On my last lap when the track was at its driest I got held up by Melandri as he pulled in front of me, and I couldn’t go off the dry line to get past him as it was still quite wet in places out there. I am confident for any conditions tomorrow and I will have to make up for my grid position early on and take things from there.”
“The wet setting was pretty good today – so I hope it rains tomorrow! Even if it is dry though we have improved a lot since yesterday and my guys have worked so hard today to set the bike up. It doesn’t matter whether it is dry or wet tomorrow, but I would really like it to be wet – that would be lovely.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“The weather conditions made this afternoon’s qualifying one of the most interesting of the season and our guys all featured at the very sharp end many times throughout, but unfortunately we didn’t quite get the role of the dice at the end when it really mattered. That said, the bike has been a lot more competitive here than at the last Grand Prix. We know it’s going to be really tough whatever the conditions tomorrow, but there is a level of confidence with Loris and Chris that will see them giving 100% tomorrow.
“Nobu has stepped his game up today, and the quicker he goes the more interesting the data is from some of the new parts he is testing. We hope he has a fast and enjoyable race tomorrow afternoon and gets in amongst the points.”
Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix Qualifying Classification:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2’01.548: 2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +0.409: 3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.623: 4. Nicky Hayden (Honda) +0.644: 5. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) +0.697: 8. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.530: 11. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.723: 18. NOBUATSU AOKI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +3.287: