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MotoGP - Ducati Marlboro Men Rule Jerez Qualifying - March 25th 2006


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    Ducati Marlboro Team riders Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau stormed to a brilliant one-two qualifying performance at Jerez this afternoon, putting them in the best possible position for tomorrow's season-opening Spanish GP. The pair dominated the session, using the speed of their Desmosedici GP6s and the grip of their Bridgestone tyres to ride the fastest two laps ever recorded at Jerez. Capirossi upped his pace time and again during the outing to end the session on pole just ahead of Gibernau, whose last and fastest lap brought him to within 0.221 seconds of his team-mate. Today's result is a carbon copy of the Ducati Marlboro Team's first Spanish GP in 2003 when Capirossi was on pole and team-mate Troy Bayliss second.

    Federico Minoli, Ducati Motor Holding CEO and president;

    "An amazing performance, just like 2003, you couldn't ask for a better start to the season. The bike really showed its power in T3 and T4. Loris showed his class all around the circuit and Sete was also great. Considering this is only his first GP on the Desmosedici, it gives us great hope for the future."

    Loris Capirossi, pole position, 1m 39.064s;

    "What a fun day, I could ride the way I like to ride. The bike was sideways as usual, but everything was under control! I was going for a 1.38 on my last lap but I just missed it. So far this has been a very positive weekend, following on from the great tests we did here two weeks ago. During those tests we weren't looking for sensational lap times, we were working so we could come here for the race with a bike that works consistently for a lot of laps, and we have found a good balance. Bridgestone have improved a lot, I was a lot faster today with soft tyres than last time here and we are really good with race tyres too. We haven't seen Ducati first and second in qualifying since 2003 and I think we should also be able to make a great race too. I don't think I'll try and leave everyone behind from the first lap because this track is very demanding on tyres and it would be better to save them for later. As always, my thanks to Ducati and Bridgestone."

    Sete Gibernau, second fastest, 1m 39.285s;

    "I'm keeping my feet on the ground. Like I keep saying, I'm in the middle of a learning process with the bike, the team, the tyres, everything. My goal today was to be on the first or the second row, but everyone's done such a great job, the team, the factory, Bridgestone, my crew chief Juan (Martinez), so I have to say thank you to everyone involved in this project. They have given me back the feeling I need to go racing. Tomorrow will be a learning race for me, my aim is to get away with the leading group and try to be with them all the way to the end of the race. I hope I can do it."

    Valentino Rossi (9th - 1'40.160, 28 laps);

    "I thought we had solved a lot of the problems yesterday but today they came back. The bike is still vibrating and with the qualifying tyre the problem became worse because the extra grip on the rear pushed the front even harder. Basically we are losing time in every part of the corner. Also the crash at the start of the session didn't help but we can't use that as an excuse. I have won the first race of the season every year since 2001 but it is going to be difficult tomorrow. I have always found that it helps to start the season with a win so I will still be going for it!"

    Colin Edwards (10th - 1'40.181, 23 laps);

    "I suppose you could say we are up the creek but the important day is tomorrow so we still have a paddle! Just when we thought we had the problem sorted out it has come creeping back. We've had three days of tests here and now two days this weekend but we just can't get on top of it. The vibration in the corners comes in at a certain speed so the effect is like having a speed limiter on the bike. To make things worse I had a puncture in my first qualifying tyre so we lost time at the end of the session too. Things don't look to be going too well for us at the moment but we'll try to pull a rabbit out of the hat tomorrow."

    Nicky Hayden: "It would have been nice to be on the front row - I mean Capirossi put down a smoking lap. The Michelin qualifying tyres worked pretty good today - it's been a while since I rode on real qualifying tyres and they're fun. Some of our problems were cured with qualifiers so I'm not thrilled with fourth but it's respectable and it gives us a chance. The session was strange with the stop for oil at the start. We tried some stuff early in the session but I didn't have as good a feeling as we did in the morning so we went back little-by-little to what we had. Tomorrow's race day and we've got our horse and we're going to show up and ride it as hard as we can. In the morning warm-up we're going to try some things to get the bike turning a little bit better and to get the tyres to last a bit longer, and to see if I can make some progress at my end. I'll need a good start. This Jerez crowd is unbelievable - tomorrow's going to be fun and I'm ready".

    Dani Pedrosa: "This session was difficult because riding on qualifying tyres is not so easy and you have to plan very well in terms of riding the lap and with the set up of the machine. We made some mistakes with the planning, and yet I think my position is good. I'm not yet at 100 per cent - I'm still very inexperienced and still have to learn step-by-step but for the first qualifying session I think the position is very good and I'm happy with it. My feeling for the race set-up is quite good because we tested here two weeks ago and this gave us a good basic set-up. I'm looking forward to finally going racing because that is when we will see the real level. I will hope the Spanish fans enjoy the race!"

    Shinya Nakano: 3rd - 1'39.526;

    "Qualifying on the front row was one of our targets for this year, but to do it at the first race is fantastic. We knew that Kawasaki and Bridgestone had made a big step forward during winter testing, but you're never sure exactly how competitive you're going to be until you get to the first race. I think this result confirms that our feeling during pre-season testing was correct. Right at the start of the session I crashed because of oil on the circuit, but apart from having to switch to my second bike, it didn't really have any effect on the outcome. To be honest, I was quite surprised when I looked down at the dash because it didn't feel like a fast lap and I was expecting the other riders to make bigger improvements. But they didn't, so I'm on the front row of the grid for the first race and I'm happy with that. It's also a nice 50th birthday present for our Team Principal, Harald Eckl!"

    Randy de Puniet: 8th - 1'40.146;

    "For sure, this is not the way I wanted to start my first MotoGP qualifying session! First I crash on the oil at turn eight through no fault of my own, and then I stall my second bike in exactly the same place after missing my braking marker and running on. The ten minutes I had to wait for my bike to come back were pretty stressful, because at that time I hadn't completed a single lap! I was a little bit nervous when I rejoined the session, but I was able to settle down towards the end and I'm happy with my final grid position. Of course, I never expected to be starting my first MotoGP race ahead of the reigning world champion, but I won't be thinking about that on the grid tomorrow. My only aims for the race are to get a good start and then ride as hard as I can for 27 laps."

    Toni Elias (1'39"875, 6th fastest): "I'm really satisfied with the result. After the good job we did this morning I have to say that I set my sights on a front row start. I'm in the right shape to have a really good race. Tomorrow it will be important to get a good start. I'm highly motivated - the support from the Spanish fans will be like an extra gear. The bike is working well and I have improved my pace. It is a shame about the crash at the start of qualifying, which was a bit of a setback because I had to continue with my second bike."

    Marco Melandri (1'39"932, 7th fastest): "It was an intense day. Qualifying started with a multiple crash which delayed things. It also made me ride a little cautiously because there was oil in the Nieto corner which got in the way of the normal racing line. My priority today was the set-up of the bike. We tried a few different settings as well as testing the tyres. Tomorrow will be a really nice race, very combative, with a lot of riders in the fight for the podium."

    Jose Luis Cardoso #30 (1'41''749): "I'm not very satisfied about this practice. I didn't manage to make a lot of "clean" laps, there were some difficulties because of some test we had to make on the electronic and other particulars that limited my action. About the tyres, I can say that we're quite ok. The difficulties are on the rear and we still haven't decided yet which one we will use during the race: a choice that will be done tomorrow morning during the warm-up. In race, I hope to get some points, it won't be an easy thing but it would really be a huge satisfaction in front of my public".

    Makoto Tamada - Konica Minolta Honda Rider;

    "After this day I can only be disappointed. I am very sorry for the result I obtained and for the gap which separates me from the top riders. All this does not repay the hard job made up to now by all KONICA MINOLTA Honda Team. The problem is that I am not really able to have the necessary confidence to be effective in driving. This result was not in my expectations, but now I have to try not to get me down too much: the race will be tomorrow and so many other times I have been able to efficiently improve my position lap after lap."

    Alex Hofmann #66 (1'42''341): "I'm not very happy about how things went during the last two days. This afternoon, in the qualifying practice session, I entered with a set-up and tyres to test but after only one lap, I had the technical difficulty that caused the oil leak. I don't how I managed to avoid the crash and I'm really sorry for the other riders, I tried to make them sign to stop but they didn't see me. When the session started again, we had to use the bike n.2 and there were some difficulties with the gearbox; so we nearly lost the entire qualifying session. At the end of the practice, I went back on track but only could make one full lap and test only one tyre. I'm really disappointed about the result, we now have the warm-up left to prepare both motorcycles for the race and I hope everything will be alright."

    1st Qualifying;

  1. 1 L. Capirossi, Ducati (ITA) - 1' 39.064
  2. 2 S. Gibernau, Ducati (ESP) - 1' 39.285
  3. 3 S. Nakano, Kawasaki (JPN) - 1' 39.526
  4. 4 N. Hayden, Honda (USA) - 1' 39.666
  5. 5 D. Pedrosa, Honda (ESP) - 1' 39.734
  6. 6 T. Elias, Honda (ESP) - 1' 39.875
  7. 7 M. Melandri, Honda (ITA) - 1' 39.932
  8. 8 R. De Puniet, Kawasaki (FRA) - 1' 40.146
  9. 9 V. Rossi, Yamaha (ITA) - 1' 40.160
  10. 10 C. Edwards, Yamaha (USA) - 1' 40.181
  11. 11 C. Vermeulen, Suzuki (AUS) - 1' 40.215
  12. 12 J. Hopkins, Suzuki (USA) - 1' 40.340
  13. 13 K. Roberts, Team Roberts KR (USA) - 1' 40.497
  14. 14 C. Checa, Yamaha (ESP) - 1' 40.851
  15. 15 C. Stoner, Honda (AUS) - 1' 40.982
  16. 16 M. Tamada, Honda (JPN) - 1' 41.119