Loris Capirossi used Friday's one-and-only practice session at Jerez to full effect as he put his Rizla Suzuki in second position.
However, whilst Capirossi's one lap speed was clearly impressive - he was the only rider within half a second of Valentino Rossi - the #65 is concerned that even the harder compound rear tyre on offer this weekend will struggle to remain competitive to the end of Sunday's 27 lap race.
"It was not too bad today, but we still have a lot of work to do,” confirmed Capirossi. “We still have a bit of a problem with getting the right tyres for here. We have already used the hardest tyre we have - but it is not hard enough for us! We will have to adjust the bike a bit so that we use a bit less tyre.”
Team-mate Chris Vermeulen finished the day in eighth position.
"We had the two bikes set up a little bit different to try a couple of different things geometry wise. Basically it was to help with front feeling - which I struggled a bit with at the test here - and we definitely took a step forward,” revealed the Australian. “We have the same compound tyres this weekend as we did at the test and at the moment they seem to be working a bit different. I think the most important thing is to make the tyres last the race distance and keep them in a reasonable condition, so that is what we are going to be working on tomorrow.”
"It's difficult to assess the real potential from this short single session today,” admitted team manager Paul Denning. “Obviously it's good to have Loris right up there in second place and Chris improving a lot throughout the session, but we have a lot of work still to do in these warmer conditions to try and find a good step in rear grip with the harder compound tyre, which looks like it will be the only option open to us for the race. We need to get the bike set up to increase the durability of the tyres, but a least we've had a solid Friday afternoon, and we've managed to gather a lot of information as we look to get a good result here in Jerez."