The 2006 MotoGP World Championship moves past half-distance at Donington Park this weekend with Loris Capirossi still third in the points chase despite the injuries he sustained in the big turn-one crash at Catalunya on June 18. Unluckily that race was the first of three back-to-back MotoGP events, so the determined Italian contested last weekend’s Dutch TT with painful chest injuries, finishing the race a valiant 15th. Last Monday he underwent further chest scans and should be in better shape for Donington.

Team-mate Sete Gibernau, who broke his left collarbone in the same accident two weeks ago, will once again be replaced by Alex Hofmann, who took 12th place at Assen in his first ride with the Ducati Marlboro Team. Gibernau’s broken collarbone was plated in an operation at Barcelona’s Dexeus hospital on June 20. Latest x-rays, taken on June 26, suggest that the injury is healing well, so the Spaniard is already in training and hoping to return to action at the German GP on July 14/15/16.
LORIS CAPIROSSI, Ducati Marlboro Team rider, 3rd overall, 100 points
“Last weekend was really, really tough for me, so we are hoping that Donington will be better. I rode in a lot of pain at Assen, every bump felt like the stab of a knife, even though I used pain-killers. But I have had further check-ups since then and they confirmed that I am basically okay.
I am currently taking painkillers and when I get back onto the bike on Friday morning I will finally be able to see how efficient the treatment and the rest have been.
I am still third overall, so the championship isn’t over yet and every point could be vital at the end of the season. I am looking forward to Donington. It’s a special place to me because I won my first GP there in 1990. I really love the circuit because it’s a great challenge to ride it well. The important thing is having useable power delivery because there are a lot of part-throttle sections. We have made many improvements to our power delivery over the past few months so I’m looking forward to feeling the performance of the GP6 at Donington. My favourite part of the circuit is the fast, flowing section, downhill through Craner, then uphill to Coppice.”


SETE GIBERNAU, Ducati Marlboro Team rider, 13th overall, 44 points
“I’m still aching but my head no longer hurts and the collarbone operation was a success. Before fixing the collarbone with a plate, the surgeons had to remove an old plate which affected my shoulder muscles. It still hurts but I am now training again. We are working in the swimming pool to get the shoulder muscles moving again and to make sure the wounds drain as quickly as possible. I want to get better quickly and get back on track with my team.”


ALEX HOFMANN, Ducati Marlboro Team rider, 16th overall, 16 points
“What I learned at Assen will help me a lot at Donington. I feel more confident now because I have completed a race with this bike and tyre package, so I can start the weekend a good step ahead of where we were this time last week. I won’t have to start again from zero, plus I know the track quite well, so things should improve for us. We already have some ideas to adapt the set-up to suit me better because the four hours of practice we had at Assen weren’t enough to find my perfect settings. We analysed the data from the race and that will make us stronger. I usually find my way around Donington pretty well, I just hope it’s not as wet as it was last year! Like any racer, I like the first part of the track but I’m not so keen on the second part. Anyway, I can’t wait to get started on my second weekend aboard the factory GP6.”

Donington Park is dominated by fast, sweeping corners that crucially interlink with each other. Through these sections a fluid riding style and high corner speed are much more important than brute horsepower. But just to complicate matters, the Melbourne loop section (added in 1986 to bring the venue up to minimum GP length) features three dead-stop turns where last-gasp braking and vicious acceleration are all-important. Getting a MotoGP machine to work through these two contrasting segments requires engineers to find a compromise in chassis settings.
Donington has hosted GPs since 1987, taking over from Silverstone, which became Britain’s World Championship venue after the notorious Isle of Man TT circuit was deemed too dangerous.


Lap record: Colin Edwards (Honda), 1m 29.973s, 160.968kmh/100.021mph (2004)
Pole position 2005: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), 1m 27.897s


Age: 33 (born April 4, 1973)
Lives: Monaco
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP6
GP starts: 238 (68xMotoGP, 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)
Donington 2005 results: Grid: 11th. Race: 6th
Age: 26 (born May 25 1980)
Lives: Switzerland
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP6
GP starts: 85 (43xMotoGP, 41×250, 1×125)
First GP: Germany, 1997 (125)
Donington 2005 results: Grid: 15th. Race: 8th



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