Friday May 19 2006
Free Practice


Ducati Marlboro Team riders Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi finished seventh and eighth fastest respectively on the opening day of practice for the French GP at Le Mans, after a day spent working on race set-up in the face of gloomy weather forecasts.

Rainfall between the two sessions did not affect the two hour-long MotoGP sessions, held in cool but dry conditions. Capirossi was second fastest with half an hour to run in the second session, while Gibernau took some time to get used to the new section of the Le Mans circuit. The quickest time of the day came from Colin Edwards and is the new track best. Despite the overall track length staying the same as the previous version of Le Mans, at 4,180 metres, the alterations prompted Race Direction to call this year’s layout a new circuit.

SETE GIBERNAU, seventh fastest, 1m 35.628s
“We needed both sessions to be dry and we drew some good conclusions. We went all the way with tyre choices for the race, so it wasn’t too bad a day. We now know what we have but maybe we have to see what happens with the rain. If it rains then it will be a whole different story again tomorrow. The small change to the circuit has made a big difference and I am still not too committed on that initial part of the track. Slowly and surely we will just have to chip away at it.”

LORIS CAPIROSSI, eighth fastest, 1m 35.662s
“We tried new tyres in the morning and the afternoon but we still have something to test tomorrow, but nothing substantially different. The forecast says rain for tomorrow and Sunday, but even if racing in the wet is always a gamble, wet conditions could help us. Apart from the two Yamahas, which are very fast, the times are very close. I focused on putting together a lot of laps instead of working on one fast lap, to understand how the tyres work over a long distance.”


Temperatures: Ambient: 16 degrees. Track: 19 degrees


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