Loris Capirossi will start tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix with by far his best chance of claiming a second ever Ducati MotoGP victory, after a dominate performance in today's qualifying session at Motegi.

Capirossi exploited all of Bridgestone's rare, but expected, home race tyre advantage to end the session with a huge 0.498secs lead over the rest of the field - led by fellow Bridgestone rider John Hopkins - on a day when just 0.462secs covered second to ninth.

"It's been a great weekend so far and I've managed a great deal of fast consecutive laps before we even put on the qualifying tyres - for sure Bridgestone have done a great job for their home race and given us some excellent tyres," explained Capirossi, who claimed Ducati's first and so far only MotoGP win back in 2003 and signed a new one-year deal with Ducati over the weekend. "The race is always different from qualifying but I am ready to do my best and confident I can get a good result."

The #65's front row start was his third of the year and the second in succession, after an early season third spot in China and another at Brno last month - but at the back of his mind will surely be the first turn accident of one year ago...

Meanwhile, Ducati technical director Corrado Cecchinelli also praised the performance of the Bridgestone tyres - and the special efforts of his star rider.

"I think we had a very good tyre, as everyone could see, and I think the bike and the settings were well balanced," said Ducati Marlboro Team technical director Corrado Cecchinelli. "I also think Loris put something special in from his side to make such a lap."

But Capirossi's team-mate Carlos Checa didn't have such a good day, the Spaniard finding other riders on his line as he tried to improve his grid position in the last minutes of qualifying, and will start down in ninth.

"We improved our time but just at the end I found traffic and I lost the lap when the tyre was freshest," said Checa. "I did one more lap but I had no chance. My qualifying is not my best so far and today we did a good job with the race tyres. I just need to be in a good position after the start."

 

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