Loris Capirossi will start tomorrow’s Czech Republic Grand Prix from the third row of the grid after qualifying in ninth place following a difficult session at Brno today.
Capirossi (1’57.811, 21 laps) suffered a combination of difficulties during this afternoon’s session that hampered his quest for higher place start in tomorrow’s race. Capirossi will be working with his crew this evening as the team try to find a solution to enable the Italian to battle for a competitive result on Sunday.
Chris Vermeulen (P11, 1’58.087, 26 laps) will start on the row behind his team-mate in tomorrow’s 22-lap race. He was one of the busiest riders on track this afternoon as he completed 26 laps of the 5.403m Brno circuit. Vermeulen made big improvements throughout the hour-long session and was pleased with his work at the end, although he was also sure there is more to come.
Today’s qualifying was held in warm and sunny conditions with track temperatures reaching 42ºC. World Championship leader Valentino Rossi set the fastest time and will start from pole position on his factory Yamaha. The race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
“Today has been a bit strange for us because this morning we tried to sort out a good engine delivery and setting, and we found a good combination. We started this afternoon with the same bike but we had an electronic problem on the first couple of times I went out. We tried to fix it and on the third run it seemed ok, but when I put in a softer tyre to try to get a better lap-time the bike just didn’t work right and I had a lot of vibration. I went into the pits to try and get a better time on the second bike, but it was too late and I missed out on a higher position. Our target was for a minimum second row start and we had the potential for that, but we lost something in the afternoon. We need to find out what happened because it is not easy to understand. The new engine is certainly better and I thank Suzuki for that. Our target for tomorrow is really high, if we can find out what caused the problems today!”
“Today was a lot better – especially in qualifying. We have struggled with rear grip here this weekend and the engineers made some big changes this afternoon. One of the directions we took was very good and it got some weight on to the rear and gave me a lot more grip. It was the most comfortable I’ve been on the bike for the last three or four races, so that was a really good job by everyone to sort that out. Today we have gone the fastest we have ever done on race tyres at Brno, so that is also a good sign. The race will still be tough from the third row, but we’re going to try something else in warm-up tomorrow morning in the same direction and see if we can help the bike a bit more.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“I think Loris has done well to be as positive as possible about the qualifying session, because to be quite truthful it was a bit of a disaster and we had some problems. It was impossible for Loris to get near his – or the bike’s – potential. He did a 57.3 lap-time this morning on 20-lap tyres, so to only do 57.8 in qualifying mode shows we clearly had problems. He was capable of a second row start today and that’s where we should have been. The good news is that he is pumped for tomorrow and if he can get away well from the third row there is still the chance of a good result. Chris took a step in confidence during qualifying and was a lot happier with the GSV-R than he has been all weekend; he’s also starting to flow around the track a lot better. At the end though, it’s not where he wants to be on the grid, but I think Chris is now in a better frame of mind for the race and he will be going for it tomorrow.”