Ducati Marlboro Team riders Carlos Checa and Loris Capirossi overcame lingering injuries in the single Estoril qualifying session to secure third and sixth grid positions respectively. Checa, pole for a long period of time, set a best time of 1'37.456 to earn his front row start, and almost secured the best time of all once more, with his final lap. Capirossi, second fastest at one stage of the final hour, takes a second row start with a best time of 1'38.000, despite riding with a recently cracked ankle.
Pole was secured by Alex Barros, with a best time of 1'37.202, only 0.254 ahead of Checa. Sete Gibernau completed the front row, second fastest.
Ducati MotoGP project manager Livio Suppo recognised the performance of the entire squad.
"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!"
CHECA CONFIDENT AFTER CONSISTENT WEEKEND
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'.
CAPIROSSI MAKES PROGRESS DESPITE PAIN
Ducati Marlboro Team man Capirossi turned in an excellent qualifying performance, despite the ill effects of his broken ankle.
"I am pretty happy and less worried than yesterday. 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."
Source: Ducati Corse s.r.l.