Loris Capirossi made a strong start at Motegi despite not being fully recovered from his finger injury. Capirossi managed to record the 9th fastest time of the first practice session at Motegi.
Alvaro Bautista managed 12th position – all the riders were close on the timesheets today and Bautista’s 12th place was in reality only 0.342 seconds off fifth place.
“Overall I am happy with my condition today, I didn’t quite ride like I wanted to – or know that I can – but I found a good feeling with the bike and the team took a big step in the session to help me. To run in the top-10 in the first practice – and be only a couple of tenths off the top-five – is really good for me. We have to keep improving and with my condition – which I felt today was not 100% – we have to keep working hard to make the bike better for me to ride.”
“It has been quite a good first practice compared with some of the other races. I started with the harder compound tyres, but I didn’t feel much rear grip exiting the corners so I changed to the softer version and that was better. I also tried the soft front later in the session, because under hard braking conditions it was difficult to turn the bike with the harder compound, but this didn’t seem to make much difference so we switched back to the previous one. I do still have a bit of a problem with the exit from the corner because I don’t really have good grip and we must work to improve this as quickly as possible. Tomorrow we have a lot to do, but I am happy with today because I am not that far from fifth position and this means that we are going in the right direction. I want to have a good weekend here in Suzuki’s homeland and my team and I will try as hard as we can to get a good result.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
“After yesterday’s deluge everybody was happy to see the sun shining and to be able to get some work done. Following extensive surgery to save his little finger, Loris is obviously riding in some pain, but the base level of the GSV-R and his fitness has been enough for quite a competitive showing – especially when we consider that Loris did the whole session on the same set of tyres. Álvaro has also shown strong and consistent pace in this first session and whilst he is looking for improved rear grip – and additional steps in performance – the base for the weekend seems quite solid. Suzuki has brought some updates here to Motegi and they look like they’ll help us come race day. The whole team would like to thank the factory engineers for their continued efforts to improve the performance level of the GSV-R.”
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