CAPIROSSI & DUCATI SCORE SUPERB FIRST Grand Prix Victory !!!
Ducati who has dominated the WSB superbike championship for over a decade. Now Ducati has made the transition from contender to victor in the world of Moto GP racing. We all know how Honda has dominated the grand prix. Now Ducati has demonstrated today that they are ready to demote Honda to second best. Just the same way they did in the world superbike championship. The small Italian motorcycle company has proven before it is a giant killer.
Loris Capirossi scored a historic first victory for the Ducati Marlboro Team at searing-hot Catalunya today, winning a breathtaking battle with reigning champ Valentino Rossi (Honda). Team-mate Troy Bayliss had a torrid race, running eighth before he ran off the track to cross the line in tenth. Conditions were extreme, with ambient temperatures reaching 35 degrees and track temperature soaring to 49 degrees.
The Desmosedici’s maiden win – in only its sixth race – proved the brilliance of the legendary marque’s engineers, as well as the dedication of the entire Ducati Marlboro Team – who celebrated in style as Capirossi flashed across the finish line in front of 96,000 fans.
“This is a fantastic day for us, for everyone in the team, for everyone in the factory, for everyone involved in this project,” said an emotional Corrado Cecchinelli, Ducati Marlboro Team technical director. “We have all worked so hard for this, especially Loris, he rode an incredible race. This morning was the first time I thought we could really win this one – we knew we’d made a good tyre choice with Michelin and we knew we could do it if things went our way . Loris made a good plan for the race, he didn’t want to take the lead early on because he wanted to save his tyres. It all worked perfectly.”
Today’s success was the first premier-class win for the Bologna factory, who returned to GP racing at the start of this season after an absence of more than three decades. The factory’s previous best premier-class result (in the now defunct 500 class) was a third-place finish recorded by Italian Bruno Spaggiari in the 1972 Nations GP at Imola on May 21 1971. The win was also the first by an Italian rider on an Italian bike since Giacomo Agostini won the 1976 West German GP at the Nurburgring aboard an MV Agusta on August 29 1976.
DESERVING CAPIROSSI BASKS IN WINNING GLORY
Loris Capirossi’s remarkable determination paid off at Catalunya today, the hard-working Italian harrying Valentino Rossi into a mistake shortly after half-distance. The pair dominated the entire Marlboro Catalan GP, easing ahead of Max Biaggi (Honda) in the early stages to replay their brilliant duel in last Sunday‘s Italian GP. Both men were aware that the scorching conditions required them to conserve their tyres, but when Rossi tried to up the pace after the midway point he made a mistake, running wide into the stadium on lap 16. That put Capirossi ahead and when Rossi tried to counter-attack the following lap he made another error, this time running into the gravel trap at turn four, demoting himself to sixth. He fought back to third but victory belonged to Capirossi, who last won a GP at Mugello in 2000.
“This is a fantastic day for me, the team, Ducati, Marlboro and for everyone who believes in us,” beamed the former 125 and 250 champ who was moved to tears while the Italian anthem played as he stood atop the podium.
“The race was unbelievable. I had a big fight with Valentino, the rhythm wasn’t so fast because the conditions were so tough, especially for the tyres. We were trying not to push too hard, and when Valentino tried to go faster he ran wide. After that I rode 100 per cent. I knew that it was Biaggi behind me, but then I got signals that Valentino was coming back very fast, so I tried not to lose concentration or to spin the rear too much.
I never believed we’d win a race so soon, we’re all so happy, but we also know there is much work to be done. The bike is very fast but we need to improve the set-up. There’s still a long season ahead of us and I promise to give my best throughout.”
Capirossi has scored two other podium finishes this year – third in April’s Japanese GP and second at Mugello last weekend. It is truly a great moment for Ducati's team, company and every Ducati owner.
Now Ducati is creating a new tradition in Grand Prix motorcycle racing.
Picking up the victory torch last held by MV Agusta and Gliera so many years ago. Anyone who can remember the first victory for Ducati's superbike racing program and now sees today's victory knows that Ducati will not stop until they are the World Moto GP Champions.
Oh you can be sure that Honda are already buring the midnight oil and will show up with some more developmental parts for the next race. Ducati have a great program of development also so now the fun begins.
All Photos from of Team Ducati, Bologna, Italy.
Our best wishes to Ducati and everyone who made the victory a reality.
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