DUCATI MARLBORO MEN READY FOR VITAL TITLE PHASE

After Loris Capirossi’s spectacular win in the Czech GP and with the return of Sete Gibernau, who was forced to miss the Brno race, the Ducati Marlboro Team is now back to full strength again and ready to face up to the Malaysian GP at the Sepang circuit.
The Italian squad is enthusiastically heading east for this crucial phase of the MotoGP championship, which will see three races on consecutive weekends in Malaysia, Australia and Japan.

Loris Capirossi’s astonishing runaway win at August’s Czech Grand Prix, his fourth in the last 12 months and fifth with Ducati, has put the Italian back in the title hunt with just five races to go. Capirossi, who has just renewed his contract with the Italian squad for another year, is now 50 points behind series leader Nicky Hayden and 25 behind the second, Daniel Pedrosa, so on September 10 the hard-riding Italian will be aiming to repeat his superb 2005 Malaysian GP victory and further boost his championship aspirations.

Last year’s Sepang event was the Ducati Marlboro Team’s best-ever race result, Capirossi taking victory and team-mate Carlos Checa finishing third. It is thus significant that Capirossi’s 2006 team-mate Sete Gibernau returns to action at Sepang following further surgery to the left collarbone he broke at June’s Catalan GP. Gibernau will be keen to make an impressive comeback at a circuit that suits the Desmosedici and its Bridgestone tyres. On Wednesday 30th August the Catalan rider went to see the two doctors, Xavier Mir and Ignacio Ginebreda, who have been following him in his recovery from injury. Various X-ray tests and examinations at the Dexeus University clinic showed that he is recovering well and both doctors confirmed that Sete can take part in the Malaysian GP.

 

The next few weeks and months will be a fascinating time for the Ducati Marlboro Team as it has one eye on this year’s final 990cc MotoGP crown and the other on MotoGP’s new 800cc era. The day after his Brno win Capirossi had his first ride on Ducati’s 800cc GP7 and was very impressed. Meanwhile Vittoriano Guareschi will continue the testing and development work with the new machine.

LORIS CAPIROSSI, Ducati Marlboro Team rider, 5th overall, 151 points
“Sepang is going to be another big weekend for us. Everyone is talking about the championship but I don’t want to talk about it yet. All I can say is that I will do my best at these last five races and then we will see what happens. Like Brno, Sepang is another good track for us and for Bridgestone. We had a great weekend there last year – pole position and the race win – so we will try very hard to do the same again. I like Sepang very much, it’s a great layout, very wide and with some fast corners, so it’s a lovely circuit to ride and great for fighting. Of course, the weather is very hot but I don’t mind riding in the heat, that’s what why we train so hard. The big thing at Sepang is working to find the best race tyres. The heat and the track layout make it quite tough for tyres, so we will have to work very hard with Bridgestone to find the right combination for the race. The next few weeks will be very exciting for me and for everyone involved with the team. And I am already very excited about 2007 when I will be continuing with Ducati! I have already ridden the new GP7 at Brno and my first impression was positive. The bike was very enjoyable to ride and makes a great noise, but of course we still have a lot of work to do.”

SETE GIBERNAU, Ducati Marlboro Team rider, 14th overall, 58 points
“All the tests I had to undergo have given positive results and we found the cause of the problem with the lack of strength in my left arm which was suffering after the first operation. It seems that there was a problem with the nerve, but there is no injury and we will resolve it with physiotherapy in that area for a complete recovery and by working with the team to find the best possible position for the handlebar. I am very happy to race in the next GP and I’m going to Malaysia in the best possible frame of mind, and for this I’d like to thank the team for being close to me at every moment. We were in Sepang for the pre-season tests and that might help us, but also Loris won here last year and after the win in Brno the team spirit is sky-high and I’m very happy to join up with them again. I just can’t wait to get back in action!”

LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project manager
“We were obviously very, very happy with Loris’ Brno win, especially because it takes us into the last five races with huge enthusiasm. Loris rode an unbelievable race and the bike and the tyres were also very impressive. Now we go to Sepang and then Phillip Island and Motegi, which were all good tracks for us last year. We will focus all our energies into repeating the strong performances we showed at these events last year. Everyone involved in this project never stops working to make things better, so even though we won at Brno, Bridgestone gave us some new tyres to test the day after which give us yet more confidence. We will also have Sete with us once again, which is great for the team as a whole. We hope that his injury will cause him no further problems and that he can make a great comeback at Sepang and go on to complete the season on strong form”.

THE TRACK
Sepang is the longest racetrack in MotoGP, now that Assen has been shortened. And the Malaysian venue isn’t just MotoGP’s longest circuit, it’s also one of the widest tracks in the world, putting riders and machines to the test with an excellent variety of corners and high-speed straights. Withering heat and humidity are further challenges, not only for riders and machines, but also for technicians and everyone else working in pit lane.
Sepang hosted its first Grand Prix in April 1999 and was an instant hit with riders and teams. The state-of-the-art complex, carved out of the jungle adjacent to Kuala Lumpur’s international airport, took circuit and infrastructure design to a new level, combining a fast, safe track layout with ultra-impressive pit, media and corporate facilities. The venue replaced Malaysia’s original GP tracks at Shah Alam and Johor

Lap record: Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V), 2m 02.993s (162.390km/h-100.904mph)
Pole position 2005: Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici), 2m 01.731s

DUCATI TEAM RIDER DATA LOGS
LORIS CAPIROSSI
Age: 33 (born April 4, 1973)
Lives: Monaco
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP6
GP starts: 243 (73xMotoGP, 59×500, 84×250, 27×125)
GP victories: 27 (5xMotoGP, 2×500, 12×250, 8×125)
First GP victory: Britain, 1990 (125)
First GP: Japan, 1990 (125)
Pole positions: 40 (7xMotoGP, 5×500, 23×250, 5×125)
First pole: Australia, 1991 (125)
World Championships: 3 (125: 1990, 1991, 250: 1998)
Sepang 2005 results: Grid: 1st. Race: 1st

SETE GIBERNAU
Age: 33 (born December 15, 1972)
Lives: Switzerland
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP6
GP starts: 169 (74xMotoGP, 76×500, 19×250)
GP victories: 9 (8xMotoGP, 1×500)
First GP victory: Valencia, 2001 (500)
First GP: Spain, 1993 (250)
Pole positions: 13 (12xMotoGP, 1×500)
First pole: South Africa, 2000 (500)
Sepang 2005 results: Grid: 2nd. Race: DNF

 

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