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Ducati happy with progress in Qatar

Ducati happy with progress in Qatar

Ducati happy with progress in Qatar

Ducati riders Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss will start tomorrow's Marlboro Qatar Grand Prix from the second and third rows of the grid after an enthralling final qualifying session this afternoon. With ambient temperatures nudging 45 degrees, the pair fought for top positions throughout the session, Capirossi holding a front-row slot until he was demoted to the second row in the final seconds.

"That was a thrilling end to the session," said Ducati Marlboro Team Livio Suppo. "It was great to see Loris going so well up front, then a pity to see him drop back a row. But anyway he deserves our congratulations for today's performance because he is riding in some discomfort with the broken foot he sustained at Motegi two weeks ago.

"Troy is also going really well here, he's on the third row and his pace is very close to the front guys. The track is still slippery but it's getting better with every session as more rubber gets laid down, which improves grip and rider confidence. But it will be a very tricky race. There is only one narrow grippy line, so riders can't afford to make the smallest of mistakes and overtaking will be difficult."

Capirossi went second fastest with just three minutes to go but by the end of the session he had been shuffled down to sixth. The Italian, who was only 12th yesterday, knows that tomorrow's race will be particularly tough.

"The foot I injured at Motegi really hurts now," said Capirossi. "It wasn't too bad until I banged it while saving a slide this afternoon. The start will be especially difficult because I've been unlucky enough to end up sixth on the grid which puts me on the dirty side of the track and means I may get a lot of wheelspin at the start.

"Overall, I'm happy enough because we made a good job today, finding a not-bad set-up this morning and improving it this afternoon. But the race is going to be really tough for sure."

Bayliss improved from fifteenth to ninth as he and his crew worked at fine-tuning his Desmosedici's front end. "I'm reasonably happy with what we did today," said Bayliss who is only half a second down on pole. "We made a bit of a step forward with the bike, just working on a few little front-end changes. If all goes okay I reckon we can have a good race.

"The track keeps getting better every session but it's still pretty slippy. You can brake reasonably hard into the turns but there's not a lot of grip when you stick the bike on its side.

"You lose the front more times in one session here than you do over a whole weekend at any other track. The heat makes it hard too - I reckon the palms of my hands will be destroyed by the end of the weekend, just because of what the heat and the sweat do to them."


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