Third row start for Capirossi in season finale

2008-10-25 01:45
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer Loris Capirossi will start the last race of the 2008 MotoGP season from the middle of the third row after qualifying in eighth place at Valencia in Spain today.

Capirossi (1'32.614, 29 laps) missed out on a second row start by only one-tenth-of-a-second as he used slick tyres for the first time during this afternoon's session. This morning's final practice session was again interrupted by rain, but Capirossi worked with his crew to remedy some of the issues with wet grip that held him back yesterday. His race pace during this afternoon's session was also very promising and Capirossi is confident of a good result in tomorrow's race.

Chris Vermeulen (1'33.017, 30 laps) will start just behind his team-mate as he qualified on the fourth row in 12th place. Vermeulen also used the valuable amount of dry track time during the qualifying session to test race tyres and set-up in readiness for tomorrow's race. He is happy with the progress he made and is convinced that with a good start he can run a competitive race.

Today's qualifying was held in cool and overcast conditions with a constant threat of rain in the air. Track temperatures never got above 19ºC and the surface never completely dried out making conditions difficult for all involved. Casey Stoner on his Bridgestone shod Ducati took pole position.

Tomorrow's 30-lap race is the climax of an exhausting 18 events over the last seven months, The excitement will get underway at the 4,005m long Valencian circuit at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT), with both Rizla Suzuki riders aiming to go out in style.

Loris Capirossi:
"The conditions this afternoon were much better and we were able to start the session with a race tyre. After about 15 minutes it started to rain a bit and so I put in a qualifier, but I think I used it a little too early because the track was not 100% dry and I think I maybe lost a couple of tenths on the lap-time. This is not too big a problem though and the middle of the third row is still ok here. I was able to test some race tyres and I am happy with the set-up for tomorrow. I am optimistic about the race because the whole team worked hard all day to get the wet setting right this morning and to set-up a great race bike this afternoon!"

Chris Vermeulen:
"It was very difficult conditions for qualifying because it was the first time this weekend that we had put slicks in the bike and we had to try and get a dry set-up, test some race tyres and set the fastest lap of the weekend on qualifiers — all on a track that wasn't completely dry — it certainly was a tough challenge! I feel like the bike is working reasonably well and at the end of the session I was on my fastest lap but I made a couple of mistakes and lost a bit of time, if I hadn't I'm sure I'd have been further up the grid. The race pace looks reasonable and I am comfortable with package we have for tomorrow, so hopefully we can get a good start, get through the field early and have a strong race."

Paul Denning — Team Manager:
"Today has been a more encouraging performance compared to yesterday's and we managed to iron out a good percentage of the problems that slowed us up on Friday. In the full dry conditions both guys' pace on race tyres was encouraging and we can't really complain too much about the qualifying positions. Loris could have easily been on the second row as he just missed out by less than a tenth, but nonetheless we know he gets off the line incredibly well so we have high hopes for the race. We also know that Chris will be giving it absolutely everything in the final Grand Prix of the season tomorrow and we hope that we get good results from both guys to carry us into the winter in style!"

GP Parts Europe de la Comunitat Valenciana Qualifying Practice Classification:

1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1'31.502: 2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +0.053: 3. Nicky Hayden (Honda) +0.201: 4. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) +0.710: 5. James Toseland (Yamaha) +1.016: 8. LORIS CAPIROSSI (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.112: 12. CHRIS VERMEULEN (RIZLA SUZUKI MOTOGP) +1.515:

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

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