The Ducati Marlboro Team travels to Mugello for its home Grand Prix full of confidence. Indeed the Bologna-based squad has never been in such a position of strength going into the Italian GP, with Loris Capirossi second equal on points after five races. Meanwhile Ducati currently holds second place in the constructors’ World Championship and the team itself lies third in the team’s contest.
At the first five races of 2006 Ducati Marlboro Team riders Capirossi and Sete Gibernau scored a total of four front-row starts, one race victory and four top-four finishes. Such performances are a testimony to the great work done by the riders, the team, Ducati Corse and Bridgestone tyres.

Both Capirossi and Gibernau go well at Mugello, one of the most challenging tracks in MotoGP, where they can count on massive support from Italian fans and in particular from the 3000 Ducatisti packed into the special Ducati grandstand, which is organized every year at the Correntaio curve. Capirossi and his Desmosedici have scored podium finishes in two of their last three visits to Mugello, while Gibernau was just a fraction of a second away from winning the 2004 Italian GP and qualified second fastest for last year’s race.
The 2006 Italian GP is full of significance for Ducati because it marks the launch of the Desmosedici road bike, the first production machine to come out of the factory’s MotoGP project, which will be presented on Thursday 1 June at 11.30. This year is also the 80th anniversary of the foundation of Ducati, the 60th anniversary of the start of Ducati motorcycle production and the 50th anniversary of the ‘invention’ of the desmodromic distribution system.

LORIS CAPIROSSI, Ducati Marlboro Team rider, 3rd overall, 79 points
“For me, Mugello is so good, such a great event. Every year we go there it’s a special moment for the Italian riders. In fact, pretty much since 2000 – when I won after a big battle with Valentino (Rossi) and (Max) Biaggi – the race has been an Italian affair. And Mugello is extra special for me because the Ducati factory is only 60km down the road, which is great for all the staff who come to watch us race. It is an excellent track, very unusual, with an interesting mix of corners – fast, slow, up and down – so you have a little bit of everything. I always enjoy it a lot.
“Getting second at the last race in France was fantastic, it was very good for me and for our championship hopes. I have to say thanks again to Ducati and to Bridgestone, everyone is working so hard for this project. Bridgestone brought new tyres to Le Mans which helped me get another podium.”

SETE GIBERNAU, Ducati Marlboro Team rider, 9th overall, 33 points

“I am looking forward to Mugello because we definitely took a step forward on bike set-up at the last race. We worked some more on settings and improved things, so I felt much more comfortable.
“Mugello is a challenging track for me but I’ve done well there a few times. And this year it will be a special race for me because it’s Italy and I am now riding an Italian bike. I’ve always had some great fans in Italy and I guess I’ll be getting some more support this year, now I’m riding with Ducati. The track is one of the most technical in MotoGP, so your bike has to work real good if you want a good result. One of its most crucial points is the last corner, because if you get a good drive out of there you can use that extra speed to overtake other riders down the long straightaway. The other big challenge is the downhill corner entries that have a little grip.”
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project manager
“Mugello is always a special event for Ducati – it’s our home race, plus Loris is Italian and maybe we can say that Sete is now half Italian! So, yes, it is an important event for us but at the end of the day it’s another race, just like the other 16. The main thing is that we go to Mugello in confident mood. We have scored some good results there over the past few years and we are in excellent shape at the moment, with both our riders able to race up front when everything goes according to plan.”

Mugello is one of the greatest events of the MotoGP season – a challenging, high-speed circuit situated in a beautiful Tuscan valley packed with thousands of enthusiastic fans. The track features one of the world’s longest straights, where the fastest bikes exceed 340kmh/211mph, giving the Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP6 a chance to really stretch its legs. The fast and flowing circuit is also one of the most demanding, with a thrilling blend of high-speed turns, rapid direction changes and plentiful off-camber corners. Mugello’s complexities are further heightened by a bumpy surface, which, combined with numerous adverse-camber corners, makes front-tyre choice particularly crucial. Mugello hosted its first bike GP in 1976 but only became a regular venue after total refurbishment in the early 1990s.

Lap record: Max Biaggi (Honda), 1m 50.117s (171.472km/h/106.548mph)
Pole position 2005: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), 1m 49.223s

Age: 33 (born April 4, 1973)
Lives: Monaco
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP6
GP starts: 236 (65xMotoGP, 59×500, 84×250, 27×125)
GP victories: 26 (4xMotoGP, 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)
Mugello 2005 results: Grid: 6th. Race: 3rd

Age: 33 (born December 15, 1972)
Lives: Switzerland
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP6
GP starts: 165 (70xMotoGP, 76×500, 19×250)
GP victories: 9 (8xMotoGP, 1×500)
First GP victory: Valencia, 2001 (500)
First GP: Spain, 1993 (250)
Pole positions: 12 (11xMotoGP, 1×500)
First pole: South Africa, 2000 (500)
Mugello 2005 results: Grid: 2nd. Race: DNF

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