Steady start for De Puniet
14 September 2007 – The Grand Prix in Estoril got underway today in sunny conditions. After both sessions, de Puniet claimed fifth place on the leader board with a fastest lap of 1'38.287 and a top speed of 313.9kmh. The 26-year-old Frenchman and his crew succeeded in finding a good set up almost immediately and, with promising results from the start, he came home just 0.337 seconds off the day's fastest man, Casey Stoner.
He was also fortunate with his early tyre choice as the Bridgestones he used in the morning performed admirably, despite Estoril's punishing series of corners, including the famously fast and long Parabolica. The day's progress was hugely encouraging for de Puniet and, despite riding with a broken rib sustained at the last round at Misano, he's upbeat about his chances in tomorrow's crucial qualifying session.
Randy de Puniet said about Friday's free practice sessions: "I've been happy with the bike since this morning, when we immediately found a good setting. In the first session, I did 24 laps with the same rear tyre and my times were very good. I tried a harder compound but was sliding a bit so I went back to the first one. I didn't realise my rib was broken until I got it checked out last week and, this morning, it was a bit painful to move on the bike; I was much more confident this afternoon after it had subsided a bit. We'll try to improve the ZX-RR a little for Saturday but it's already very good for the race. We just need to perfect some little bits."