Valentino Rossi doesn't like towing people around the racetrack, but if there's one rider he probably isn't going to be too angry about finding in his slipstream it is fellow Italian Loris Capirossi - especially when the Rizla Suzuki rider is qualifying for his 300th event.
Capirossi tucked in behind Rossi on his final lap to claim an excellent fifth on the grid for Sunday's 2010 Qatar night race season-opener.
“In the end I followed Valentino and got a bit of help with my lap, but that doesn't matter because I am happy with the result,” said Loris, who later received a special award from Dorna to mark his 300th start.
“I am pleased for the team because they made a huge effort after I destroyed a bike last night and the guys didn't get to sleep until about five o'clock this morning! This is a small present to them, but we really hope we can have something better tomorrow to enjoy.”
“If Loris can get away with the fastest riders and find his rhythm early on we could be in for a very exciting grand prix tomorrow night,” said team manager Paul Denning.
Capirossi's rookie team-mate Alvaro Bautista wasn't able to repeat his impressive seventh in Friday practice and fell at the end of the hour. The Spaniard will start his first MotoGP race from 13th.
“This is my first official crash in a race weekend, but I am still quite happy because I rode well and got a good setting for the bike during the free practice and I feel very good on the bike,” he insisted. “I improved my time on the race tyres and this is very important, but I also think I can still go a little bit faster.
“I have a good race rhythm and even though I am too far back on the grid for what I wanted, I will try to get a good start and run with a good group and see what happens. I am really excited for tomorrow's race and I think I can enjoy myself and we'll see what we can do.”
“Alvaro's crash in the final seconds of qualifying was his first real one he's had and it's something that had to happen somewhere, and qualifying is where the absolute limits are found," said Denning.
"I don't think it will dent his confidence for tomorrow and if he can make a good start I think he will make a significant improvement on his grid position.”