Rizla Suzuki got back to MotoGP action at Jerez in Spain today with both motorcycle racers inside the top 10 after the first free practice session.
Loris Capirossi’s fastest time of 1’40.716 from his 23 laps of the 4,423m Spanish circuit gave him sixth place overall in the standings.
He made some big changes to the set-up of his GSV-R in preparation for this weekend’s event and from the first evaluation he is pleased with the new settings, but also knows there is extra to come to make his race bike more competitive.
Álvaro Bautista is making his home Moto GP motorcycle racing debut this weekend and acquitted himself well during the first day. He recorded a quickest time of 1’41.093, to give him ninth place overall after his 25 laps of the Jerez track. He is eager to make a good impression in front of his home fans and will be determined to continue to improve over the weekend.
Today’s single hour of practice was held in warm and sunny conditions, with air temperatures getting up to 26ºC and track temperatures in the high 40s. Casey Stoner on a factory Ducati set the fastest time of the day with a lap of 1’39.731.
Rizla Suzuki has one more practice session on Saturday morning followed by qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday’s 27-lap race will get underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
Loris Capirossi says: "We decided to take a bit of a risk today and make some big changes to the bike in the hope that it would help us take some big steps and for sure it has certainly helped us. I have to give a big thanks to everyone involved for letting us make the changes. We had a big meeting between my guys and Sahara san and it looks like we have solved one of the biggest problems we have. Overall we need to continue to work in this direction and I think we will make yet more discoveries that will help us. Today has been a good day for me and Suzuki and I think there is more to come!"
Álvaro Bautista says: "This is a new circuit with new reference points for me on a MotoGP bike, so it felt like I had to start working all over again. I tried to find a good line on the track and worked with the team to get a good base setting. At the end of the session I tried the softer compound tyres and I had a lot of grip from the rear and I was able to exit the corners much quicker, but I think I felt a bit too much movement from the front and I wasn’t able to enter the corner like I could on the harder tyres, so that is something we have to work on tomorrow."
"We have a lot of work to do tomorrow and we will have to work very hard to get everything right. I think we are in a good position in the classification because we are in the top 10 and at my home GP I want to have a good race, but before that we have a lot of work to do on the bike and we must get a good setting so I can compete and enjoy myself!"
Paul Denning (Team Manager) says: "It’s been a solid start to our preparations for the Jerez Grand Prix. There is not a lot of space around this circuit for the big bikes to stretch their legs and I’m sure the GSV-R felt a bit of an animal to Álvaro on his first run around here on anything bigger than a 250. He certainly didn’t look out of place during the course of the session and to be in the top 10 at the end is a very encouraging result.
"Loris has tried a very different set-up to that which he has used over the winter and there are some advantages, but as ever, there are also some disadvantages. Top six with a couple of problems is very reasonable and if we can make the bike a little easier and stable to ride through the fast stuff – but keep the rear grip that this setting has generated – then we can expect Loris to have a very competitive weekend."
Gran Premio bwin de Espana Free Practice Classification:
1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1’39.731: 2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.144: 3. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +0.417: 4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +0.469: 5. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +0.628: 6. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +0.985: 9. ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.362: