Two weeks after a thrilling Italian GP, Ducati Marlboro Team riders Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi were back in the thick of the action at Catalunya today. The pair finished the first two sessions eighth and 12th fastest in an ultra-tight first day of practice, but close to the leaders on lap times, with the top 16 riders separated by a mere 1.107 seconds.
Capirossi was just 0.596 seconds off ‘pole position’ and happy with his race pace, while Gibernau was less than two tenths down on his team-mate, proving that Bridgestone has made significant progress since a challenging weekend at this track last June. Neither rider used qualifying tyres today, preferring instead to focus on race tyres and race set-up.

The afternoon session got underway on a slightly damp track after a lunchtime rain shower but ended in warm sunshine. Latest weather forecasts suggest that the rain may return to Catalunya on race day.

LORIS CAPIROSSI, 8th fastest, 1m 43.433s
“We had some rain today, as we’ve had at pretty much every race so far this year, but in general it was quite a positive day for us. So far I’m not 100 per cent satisfied with my bike set-up, which we need to adapt to the tyres. However, I’m feeling focused, confident and ready to use tomorrow’s two hours of track time to find a good solution for Sunday. I ended this afternoon’s session with a 12-lap run and I’m pretty satisfied with my race pace. I did a lot of 43s, which is not at all bad. We always knew that this track would be more difficult for us than the others but we are doing okay, and, most important of all, we are much better here than we were last year.”

SETE GIBERNAU, 12th fastest, 1m 43.617s
“We started here with basically the same set-up we ran at Mugello but we need to find a little more. I think the bike/tyre package is better here than it was before, though we are still getting quite a lot of wheelspin out of the turns, so the bike isn’t driving out of the corners, which is important at any racetrack but especially here because there are a lot of long corners. The team and I are therefore working together to try and find a better set-up that will help the tyres. I’ve got one more rear to test tomorrow which is probably the best of the ones I didn’t try today, so we’ll see how that goes. Spidi have made a great job of fixing my boots, so my thanks to them.”

Temperatures: Ambient: 25 degrees. Track: 30 degrees


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