After a tough run of races, Rizla Suzuki put both its riders into the top ten for the first time this season during qualifying at Catalunya on Saturday.
Indeed, it had been three rounds since Suzuki saw even one rider inside the top ten in qualifying, and Loris Capirossi's seventh position is his second-best start of the season, after fifth at round one in Qatar.
“Overall the weekend has been not too bad and we have been working quite hard all day today. In this morning's session we only stopped once in the hour and we managed to understand many things on the bike," said Loris.
"We only changed one thing on the bike today and the team has done a great job to set the GSV-R up for here. I feel good with the weekend so far, but we are still missing a little something, especially in turns 9, 12 and 13. I am struggling a little bit in the fastest points, but it is enjoyable to ride the bike and I think that tomorrow we can have a good race.”
Rookie team-mate Alvaro Bautista put in his best qualifying performance of the season with ninth place, having been as high as fourth at one point.
"I tried to follow Lorenzo and I got a couple of good laps, this put me in fourth position for a while – which was good because it was the best I have been in MotoGP," said the Spaniard. "At the finish of the session I made a mistake on my last lap and lost some time, if I hadn't I might have been higher up the grid. I am happy though because this is my best qualifying position and now I want to make a good start tomorrow so I can fight with other riders for the front positions. I really want to have a good race here at my home grand prix.”
“Congratulations to all the team - and both riders - on a fine effort so far this weekend in Catalunya," said team manager Paul Denning. "It is particularly pleasing to see Álvaro back and showing the kind of form that we know he is capable of. For both of the guys to be less than a second off pole - and half-of-a-second off the front row - is a massive step from where we have been recently.
"It's going to be very difficult for all the bikes and riders in this heat tomorrow, but Loris and Álvaro are up for the challenge and whilst we're very realistic about the steps we've taken and the expectations for tomorrow, we all feel positive that the guys have the capability to put on to put on a good show.”