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Ducati riders back on form

Ducati riders back on form

Ducati riders back on form

Ducati Marlboro Team riders Carlos Checa and Loris Capirossi overcame lingering injuries in the single Estoril qualifying session today to secure third and sixth grid positions respectively.

Checa set a best time of 1'37.456 to secure his front row starting position, showing significant progress after his disappointing tenth place finish last week in Jerez. The Spaniard arrived in Jerez last week still hampered by a shoulder injury he picked up during winter training but finally seems to be back on form.

The Ducati Marlboro Team rider agreed that this was a good track for him but is confident beyond today's performance, having set competitive times with both race and qualifying set-ups.

"This is not a very difficult track and it has many slow areas. The rest of it is similar to the other circuits. I had this result because of the team, the bike and the tyres. The package has given me the feeling and the grip to make good lap times. I am also happy because we set good laps with race tyres and this given me more confidence for tomorrow. I hope we can make the whole weekend a nice one, as the most important part is tomorrow."

Team-mate Capirossi, second fastest at one stage of the final hour, secured a second row start with a best time of 1'38.000, despite riding with a recently cracked ankle. The sixth place finish saw a drastic improvement in the Italian's performance after his 13th place finish at lasts weeks Gran Premio de España.

"I am pretty happy and less worried than yesterday, said Capirossi. "Today it was warmer and the tyres worked better. We have worked a lot on the chassis settings and we have seen that I can lap in 1.39 on race tyres. This is not bad at all. Unfortunately I still can't ride as I want because I can't move as want on the bike and I am afraid to fall and hurt my injury again. So far I have just had massages in my ankle to stop it pumping up, and no injections. Tomorrow I will have to have an injection, otherwise I don't think I could finish the race."

Ducati MotoGP project manager Livio Suppo was happy with the team's performance and commented, "A very good qualifying session, it's just a shame that Carlos didn't quite get pole because the screens were showing a red helmet until the very last sector. However first row for Carlos and second row for Loris is good enough."


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