With Alvaro Bautista dropping out of the French MotoGP with injury, it falls to Loris Capirossi to represent the Rizla Suzuki team in the Le Mans MotoGP on Sunday. Capirossi qualified in 9th place.
Capirossi (1’34.306, 26 laps) continued with the positive performance from yesterday during both the sessions today. He was consistently within touch of the front pack throughout the whole of the qualifying session and with a few more modifications to his Suzuki GSV-R this evening, he is confident he can have a strong race tomorrow.
Capirossi will be Rizla Suzuki’s only rider participating in tomorrow’s French Grand Prix, following the withdrawal of Álvaro Bautista earlier today. Bautista suffered from a big high-side in this morning’s practice session and the fresh injuries he sustained – added to his already broken collarbone – forced him to make the decision to take no further part in this weekend’s events. He was disappointed about not competing in France, but also mindful of getting back to full fitness for a hectic schedule ahead.
“The grid position is not the best, but I am quite happy because we have worked so hard for the whole weekend. We started to adapt the bike a bit more over the two days and now I think we are close to getting what we are looking for. My rhythm today was good and I didn’t follow anybody at all in the two sessions, which is good because it helps us understand what the rhythm and performance will be like in a race. I am really optimistic for tomorrow and I think if I get a good start I can be involved in the action towards the front.”
“It is not a good way to say bye-bye to a MotoGP race! This morning I had an injection to help with the pain and for two laps the feeling was a little bit better, not a big difference, but better. Then I crashed and I don’t really know why because I was not going very fast and I just lost the rear tyre. After that I felt more pain down my left side and I decided not to race here and make sure I make a full recovery for the next race. In the future we have lots of races together so it is better to be 100% in all of them, than be 50% or less in one!”
Paul Denning –Team Manager:
“Loris has improved in all the sessions and if we can tidy things up a bit more before the Grand Prix, then I think he has the race-craft and determination to grind out a decent result tomorrow. The focus for the crew overnight will be to make the bike a bit easier to ride, particularly in the faster braking areas, and to create a bit more stability, which will be important over race distance. This isn’t Loris’s favourite track, but it is certainly his favourite weather, so I think he’ll be fired-up and pushing for his best result of the season so far tomorrow.
“It is a great disappointment not to have Álvaro competing for the rest of the weekend, but in the end the team and the medical staff at the track had to advise him to sit out and let the relatively minor injuries he has heal in time for Mugello. The combination of injuries would have significantly compromised his safety and possibly that of other riders. He’s disappointed, but we are now guaranteed that he’ll be fit and strong for Mugello and we’ll be looking forward to him building on his strong Jerez race performance.”
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