Friday Jun 23 2006
Qualifying Practice – Assen

Ducati Marlboro Team riders Loris Capirossi and Alex Hofmann qualified 15th and ninth fastest for tomorrow’s Dutch TT at Assen. This afternoon’s qualifying session was a major challenge for both men, Capirossi riding in considerable pain from the injuries he sustained in last Sunday’s turn-one crash at Catalunya, Hofmann still getting to know the bike and tyres he has inherited from Sete Gibernau, who broke a collarbone in the same accident.
Capirossi’s biggest problem is the chest injuries he sustained last weekend because excellent upper-body strength is essential in motorcycle racing. The Italian is struggling despite using pain-killing therapies and undergoing extensive physiotherapy at the Clinica Mobile.
Hofmann, who rode the Desmosedici GP6 and its Bridgestone tyres for the first time yesterday morning, has acquitted himself well, qualifying on the third row, just three tenths of a second off row two.


LORIS CAPIROSSI, 15th fastest, 1m 38.060s


“This is really hard, much harder than I thought it would be before we came here. I can’t breathe normally and every bump feels like the stab of a knife. I have been given mesotherapy pain treatment but even that’s not enough to take away the pain from my injured chest. I’d like to thank all the guys at the Clinica Mobile because they’re taking great care of me and we are so close that they also help me from a psychological point of view. This is a bad moment for me, without last Sunday’s crash I could have arrived here leading the championship. It’s a real pity I got hurt at the start of a run of three back-to-back races, but that’s racing. Maybe my determination to never give up is what’s getting me through this. I want to race tomorrow to score some points because you can win or lose a championship by a single point and there’s still plenty of the season ahead of us.”

ALEX HOFMANN, 9th fastest, 1m 37.399s

“Considering the limited time I’ve had on the bike and these tyres I’m happy. The team has done a great job and I’d like to thank everyone for giving me this chance. This afternoon was my first time on qualifying tyres with this package, so my goal was to be within one second of pole position and we managed that. I’m on the third row and the times are really close, so I’m not far off the best guys. We focused on tyres, rather than doing too much on set-up. I tried a different rear and a harder front at the start of this afternoon’s session but they weren’t my style, so they didn’t do my confidence any good. After that we went back to the tyres I already knew and I began to pick up my pace, feeling quite comfortable on the bike. I think I can do 38s on race tyres. I’m pretty sure the race will be really good because I will get to know the bike and tyres better, so I’ll find the bit of confidence I’m missing and my rhythm should be faster.”
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project manager


“I would like to thank Loris for his unbelievable effort because we know he is really suffering. We would also like to thank the Clinica Mobile for looking after him so well. It’s not nice to see Loris in trouble but we know he will do his best in the race because he is a real lion. Congratulations to Alex who is doing a great job on Sete’s bikes. He was very consistent today and he went very well on qualifying tyres.”

Temperatures: Ambient: 20 degrees. Track: 23 degrees


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