Camel Pramac Pons rider Max Biaggi put the disappointment of Brno well behind him with a typically measured and refined qualifying performance at a sunny, but windy, Estoril today.

"I'm quite satisfied," said Biaggi, who beat all the factory RCVs despite riding with a sore throat. "It was hard work to get the step-up - but it was important. The bike now turns a lot better although it's still not as stable as I'd like on the brakes."

The rapid Roman will start tomorrow's race from second place on the grid, behind countryman Loris Capirossi - and is weary of the Ducati's top speed advantage.

"I'm feeling positive about tomorrow which will be a fast race, but Capirossi Ducati is quick and if he makes a mistake in the turns he can make up for it with his speed on the straight," warned Max. "But I'll be looking to have a good race tomorrow."

"Loris set an excellent time, but Max's performance has also been extraordinary today," enthused team owner Sito Pons. "He has qualified as the fastest Honda on the grid and his position clearly demonstrates that we have got over the set-up problems we were experiencing in Brno with the new engine configuration and we have been able to concentrate on preparing for the race."

Team-mate Tohru Ukawa had looked very much on form over the two days of qualifying, and if it hadn't been for heavy traffic baulking the Japanese ace on his final fast lap, he could easily have been higher than tenth.

"The lap time was no good, but I feel good on the bike. I was going for a fast time right at the end of the session but I got slowed in traffic and it didn't happen, but my times were consistent and we've definitely found a good race tyre," he said. "The start will be critical from row three for me. We'll check our set-up is still okay in tomorrow's warm-up and I think the race will be run in the high 1m 39s bracket or maybe the low 1min 40secs range."

"Tohru was challenging right up until the final moments for a front row position, but in the end he was held up by traffic and could not improve. He does have a good rhythm and can challenge for the leading positions in the race," maintained Pons.

 

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