Rizla Suzuki racers Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen are both confident that the information they gained from today’s only practice session will help them improve on their race-pace throughout the remainder of this Estoril Grand Prix weekend.
Capirossi (P12, 1’38.978, 24 laps) tried a radical setting on his Suzuki GSV-R at the beginning of this afternoon’s session and with his crew he will be reviewing the data overnight to see where important changes can be made to find extra tenths-of-second to push him further up the leader-board. Capirossi changed to his other GSV-R later in the session, with a more conventional setting, and quickly improved on his times – setting his fastest time on his very last lap.
Vermeulen (P16, 1’39.686, 24 laps) overcame acute back pain following a training accident – which required x-rays this morning to check everything was ok – to fight his way through the session and give him the confidence to push harder with each passing lap. Vermeulen will now rest overnight and hope that he is in a much fitter state to wrestle his Suzuki GSV-R around the 4,182m Estoril track tomorrow.
Under cloudy skies, but warm temperatures, where the track surface reached the high 30ºCs, Jorge Lorenzo on his factory Yamaha set the fastest time of the day.
Rizla Suzuki has one more free session tomorrow morning, followed by an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday’s 28-lap race gets underway at 13.00 local time (12.00hrs GMT).
“It was a bit of a strange practice today for us. The condition of the track was not too bad and we started the session with an unusual setting that put more load on the rear tyre, we didn’t really find that it worked that well for us, but we were able to understand what is needed. On the last run I went out on my other bike and it had a different set-up and I was able to go a bit quicker. I think for us it was a difficult practice today, but it has given us a lot of ideas to do a lot better tomorrow – for sure I will be a lot faster!.”
“It was a bit difficult in the beginning, because I hurt my back in Australia about a week ago and it didn’t make things very comfortable on the bike. It was tough to move around at first, but after a couple of changes to the settings things became a lot easier. We ran the softer compound tyre on the front and rear all session and my lap-times were getting quicker all the time. Towards the end of the hour I changed to my other bike – which had a different geometry setting – but unfortunately we had a couple of issues with that one and I had to come in early, losing a bit of track-time in the process. I am sure if I can get a bit fitter for tomorrow, we will be able to qualify well, because the bike feels as if it is in really good shape.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“It is difficult to draw too many real positives from today’s free practice session, other than we hope Chris will be in a much better condition tomorrow, and that we will be able to make a big step with the GSV-R following the things we learnt today. One area we have struggled with in the past here at Estoril is the final corner – in terms of generating enough grip – and with the new evolution of the bike that problem does seem to be largely solved. If we can now take a decent step overnight we should be in a position to make a good improvement around the whole racetrack and find a decent chunk of time.