“We should be very competitive”
The Ducati Marlboro Team travels to China following a brilliant weekend in Turkey where the dazzling Casey Stoner won his second Grand Prix of the year to regain the World Championship lead and Loris Capirossi signalled his renaissance with
his first podium finish of the season.
Not only does Stoner lead the riders' points chase, Ducati currently tops the constructors' World Championship and the Ducati Marlboro Team heads the teams' prize. A remarkable performance from the legendary Italian marque, but everyone involved in the factory's MotoGP project is determined to remain cool, calm and collected, continuing to treat each MotoGP event as a new challenge.
There are still 15 races remaining in this, the longest-ever MotoGP season, which means a huge amount of work for the riders, the team, the awesome Desmosedici GP7 and its Bridgestone tyres.
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project manager
"We now go to a circuit where, in theory, we should be very competitive. A lot of people say Shanghai will be easy because it features two long straights but I don't think it will be easy. Anyway, top speed isn't everything and during the first three races we have proved that our bike is very fast around the whole racetrack, not just at the end of the straights. It is good to be leading the riders' championship, the constructors' championship and the teams' championship, but we are keeping our feet on the ground, treating each weekend as a new challenge and just doing our best. Everyone at the factory and in the team is working very hard, Bridgestone are doing a great job and Shell Advance are also playing an important role.
CASEY STONER, World Championship leader, 61 points
"I think Shanghai is going to be pretty good because our whole package is working just about perfectly so far. The motorcycle and the tyres are amazing, plus the team itself. It's like a great family, I've felt at home since I first arrived and they allow me to do the job I want to do. For me Shanghai is a pretty good track, that hairpin at the end of the back straight is a bit dodgy but the rest seems to flow quite well together, so you can get a bit of a rhythm going, except through the first two corners and the hairpin. I think we should be pretty competitive. You don't only need horsepower at Shanghai, you also need good braking performance and I remember last year that the Ducatis were very, very hard to beat into the hairpin because the Ducati has got great braking. I think the track will be good for the bike and the Bridgestone tyres. Everyone in the team is doing a great job but we're still a long way from home as far as the season goes."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 11th overall, 20 points
"After Turkey I feel like I am back, like the season has started for me. The first two races were difficult for me but the team and Bridgestone kept their faith and now I am enjoying myself again, and you have to enjoy riding these bikes to be fast. Bridgestone continue to work very, very well, last year Turkey was difficult for them but this time they really dominated the race, fantastic! We think we can have another good weekend at Shanghai because already last year's Chinese GP wasn't so bad for us. Shanghai is quite a strange track with a really long back straight, amazing. The first part is a little bit too F1 style for me, it's not really easy and it's not much fun with a motorcycle, but overall the track isn't so bad. I like riding there and for sure our bike is not too bad on long straight! After Turkey I feel like we have a very, very good opportunity for the rest of the season, but we will see what happens and we must keep working, race by race."
China hosted its first MotoGP event in 2005 and the Shanghai facility made an instant impression, its unusual track layout offering a special challenge to riders while its massive infrastructure towered over proceedings. The circuit is shaped like the Chinese character ‘shang', meaning ‘above', the origin of the port city's name that translates as ‘above the ocean'. Its dominant features are the ultra-long T1/2 and T12/13 right-handers and two long straights, the fastest of which is currently the quickest in MotoGP. The fastest 990cc MotoGP bikes achieved top speeds of 343km/h down the back straight. This year MotoGP bikes are 190cc smaller at 800cc.
Lap record: Dani Pedrosa (Honda), 1m 59.3318s, 159.336km/h- 99.007mph
Pole position 2006: Pedrosa, 1m 59m 009s