Max Biaggi and his Camel Pramac Pons team were punished for not improving significantly this afternoon, causing them to slip from fourth to sixth on the grid for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix.

The Roman found just 0.15secs over his Friday time today after admitting they simply haven't progressed with bike setup - although with thunderstorms expected for race day that may not be too much of a handicap, since all the dry work will go out of the window anyway.

"We have not made any progress with the bike set-up although we have not gone backwards either which explains why today's time is similar to yesterday's," said Max. "I tried to change some things to improve the performance of the chassis and the engine but it didn't work out and I must ride with what I have.

"I'm losing out in the first half section of the track, but it's almost too late to work on that now," he added. "The race will be better because it will be run at a lower pace and I'm sure I can match that. It will be a case of getting a good start and running at the front, but the weather might change everything."

Team Owner Sito Pons was much more positive about what Biaggi can achieve, saying that the double 2003 race winner will find a way to overcome any difficulties when the red lights go out.

"It is obvious that we have not set good times for the starting grid, but the race is different and Max has a good rhythm. The weather forecast is for rain, which will change everything, and we will continue to work on optimising the settings for a wet race," said the Spaniard. "Biaggi is a rider that always rises to the occasion and I am convinced that he will take his chances tomorrow in the race."

Meanwhile, team-mate Tohru Ukawa was one of the first riders to improve on his time from yesterday, when he put in a 1m 31.468s lap to go sixth early in the hour. However, the Japanese would ultimately slip to eighth at the flag, and is now looking for a good start.

"My lap times were much improved from yesterday, and the second row should be okay. But if been on the second row before and not started well from there before - this time I'm going to make it count," he said. "The spinning-up problem has been helped by the engine-mapping changes we made, but everyone out there is suffering from the problem to some extent. I've got a pretty good race set-up but the forecast bad weather could make that irrelevant - we'll have to see what happens."

 

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