The Ducati Marlboro Team travels east to the booming city of Shanghai for round four of the 2006 MotoGP World Championship: the team is looking forward to China.

Both men are particularly keen to get back into action at this unusual racetrack after a challenging Turkish GP on April 30. Capirossi finished sixth at Istanbul but is still a close second in the World Championship, just one point off leader Nicky Hayden. Gibernau meanwhile led half the Turkish GP on his Desmosedici GP6, proving that when things go his way, he has the pace to win races.

China is the last of a series of three ‘flyaway’ races before the MotoGP circus returns to its European heartland for six Continental GPs, commencing with the French round at Le Mans on May 21.

LORIS CAPIROSSI, Ducati Marlboro Team rider, 2nd overall (51 points)
“It’s been an amazing start to the season with two fantastic races in Spain and Qatar, even though Turkey didn’t go quite so well for us. The good thing is that we scored some useful points there, so we are still just one point off the championship lead. It’s a very long season, so every point counts, especially since there are so many strong riders this year.

“Although I know I am fast at Shanghai, the track isn’t much fun to ride, especially the first section. The first turn is really, really long, in fact it’s more like a roundabout than a corner! Shanghai isn’t a technical track, it doesn’t have the kind of corners where a good rider can really make a difference. Also, the weather seems very changeable, which complicates everything. It’s difficult to say how good the track will be for us because we had so little dry track time there last year, but at the moment I’m very confident in my GP6 and my Bridgestone tyres.”

SETE GIBERNAU, Ducati Marlboro Team rider, 10th overall (18 points)
“The team is working perfect, so sooner or later we’ll get the results we deserve. Ducati and Bridgestone are also doing an outstanding job and we know that when things go right we are very competitive in both the wet and the dry. Racing is always a learning process, so we have to take it step by step and look forward to China where we’ll be working as hard as ever to get the results we know we can achieve.

“I have to say that Shanghai isn’t my favourite racetrack, even though I got pole there last year. It’s not the kind of racetrack where you have a lot of fun, it’s just not a great motorcycle circuit. The first corner is weird, but then the whole track is weird! You’ve got a couple of really fast straights and then some really tight corners, so you never get into a real rhythm.”

LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project manager
“We know that both our riders are fast at Shanghai because Sete got pole there last year and Loris was third in qualifying, plus we think it will be a better track for Bridgestone, so we go there feeling quite confident. We just hope the weather will be nicer and more consistent than it was last year here and at Istanbul a few weeks ago.

“Overall, we know that our bike, rider and tyre package is good. We won the first race of the year, got a third and fourth at the next race and although we didn’t get the best of results in Turkey we came away in positive mood because we were fast in wet qualifying and in the dry morning warm-up. This year’s championship is very, very tough. We’ve had three races with three different winners and three different pole sitters. This is good news for the fans and I think we can be very proud to be an important part of this show.”

China hosted its first MotoGP race last May, the brand-new Shanghai circuit’s massive infrastructure outshining all other MotoGP venues. But the track itself isn’t so popular with riders, who mostly complain that it doesn’t provide the kind of riding-skill challenges they seek. The layout is dominated by the ultra-long Turn One and Turn 13 right-handers and by two long straights, the fastest of which is currently the quickest in MotoGP. Last year the Ducati Marlboro Team achieved the highest top speed of the season – at 342.9km/h – on the long run towards Shanghai’s Turn 14.

Lap record: Alex Barros (Honda), 2m 13.716s (wet race)
2005 pole position: Sete Gibernau (Honda), 1m 59.710s


Age: 33 (born April 4, 1973)
Lives: Monaco
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP6
GP starts: 234 (64xMotoGP, 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)
Shanghai 2005 results: Grid: 3rd. Race: 12th

Age: 33 (born December 15, 1972)
Lives: Switzerland
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP6
GP starts: 163 (68xMotoGP, 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)
Shanghai 2005 results: Grid: 1st. Race: 4th


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