Capirossi was the first two-stroke, riding the NSR West Honda Pons machine into fifth place - one ahead of his team-mate Alex Barros on an RCV - despite a last minute tyre problem.

The Italian would eventually miss out on the pole position he set last year by just one tenth of a second.

"I'm really happy to be the first two-stroke after leading the way this morning in practice," declared the soon to be Ducati rider. "I'm confident round here because the bike is so fast. I dropped off the front row in the last minute because of a tyre problem which I'm sure we can change. I'm sure I can faster tomorrow and in the race and I'm feeling very comfortable on the bike."

Technical Director Antonio Cobas remains worried that Capiroosi and the NSR have little left with whcih to fight the four strokes. "With the (Two-stroke) we are practically on the limit, as was demonstrated by the fact that Loris was already only one tenth off last year's pole. We will try to refine the settings still further to try and squeeze out a little more performance," he said.

Team Manager Sito Pons remains fully supportive of 'Capirex': "Loris is a rider that never gives in and will be competitive."

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