Saturday, July 16, 2011

Changes in personnel and fortunes in Pramac garage

There was plenty happening in the Pramac Racing garage on Friday at Sachsenring where the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland got underway. Having missed the previous two races at Assen and Mugello following a heavy crash in qualifying at the Dutch track, Loris Capirossi attempted to make a return to action as he rode in FP1 in the morning.

Unfortunately for the Italian his recovering shoulder proved too painful to allow him to ride properly, forcing him to withdraw from Round Nine with Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli stepping in as a substitute at the Sachsenring.

“I tried to ride but my condition is not enough to be able to, and this is why I decided to stop and give my bike to Sylvain,” Capirossi told “The situation is strange because the ribs are not too bad but the collarbone is the big problem, I don’t have power in the arm and I can’t change direction on the bike. Anyway, it’s a good chance to do physiotherapy for the next three days and make a decision for Laguna Seca.”

He added: “I really hope to be in better condition and ride there, I like the track. I’d like to train a little bit during the break and come back really fit at Brno. We have time before then to be 100%.”

Guintoli, who tested at Mugello almost two weeks ago in preparation for the eventuality he would step in for Capirossi, said of the afternoon practice session: “It was good fun, definitely. We’re still very slow and I have some catching up to do, but it’s been an interesting session. This track is very small for this bike so it’s hard work but we’re going to work hard and try to enjoy it. I must admit I never thought I would enjoy going so slow! It’s a great feeling.”

The Frenchman’s best lap of the 45-minute run was a 1’25.964, a full 3.739s off fastest rider Marco Simoncelli, and he continued: “I don’t know if there are any realistic targets because these guys are so fast and I’m just jumping on the bike in the middle of a race and in the middle of the season. I’ve also been doing three years of superbikes now so everything is different – I feel like I have to re-learn everything. For me I need to enjoy myself, progress and it’s a completely different experience!”

Guintoli will share the Pramac garage with compatriot Randy de Puniet this weekend, who himself enjoyed a positive start to the ninth round having experienced a difficult start to 2011. De Puniet was eighth fastest of the day with a time of 1'23.037, just over eight-tenths of a second off Simoncelli, and was very satisfied with the feeling he established on the GP11.

“I’m happy with today after a lot of difficult races for us,” he said. “We are feeling quite good. I received a new frame from Ducati and it looks a little bit better than the previous one. It’s a small step but we need to continue working, and the base is quite good. It’s a step two bike, similar to Nicky’s (Hayden). It’s hard to compare the differences because this track is tight and corner speed is slow. Overall the frame is better, and we’ll continue to work on it this weekend.”

This GP also sees a return to the track where De Puniet broke his leg last season. He concluded by adding: “Last year’s race was a turning point in my season, and I hope it can be this year but in the opposite way.”

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