Another big challenge
This week the Ducati Marlboro Team dashes from its home Grand Prix at Mugello to Barcelona for the Catalan GP, the second of four races during June, MotoGP's busiest month.
Stoner has scored three wins, plus a third, a fourth and a fifth place
from the first six races, proving that he has both speed and consistency. Capirossi meanwhile has scored one podium so far this season and is currently working hard to refine a new engine spec developed by Ducati Corse to suit his riding style.
Capirossi won Ducati's historic debut MotoGP win at Catalunya in June 2003, so the Italian will be aiming to fight up front once again this weekend as he and Stoner continue to work hard with the team and with their Desmosedici GP7s.
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project manager
"Barcelona will be another big challenge, so we go there working to do our best. The big thing is that we didn't race there last year [both Capirossi and team-mate Sete Gibernau were injured in a first-corner accident and didn't take part in the restarted race], so we don't have any recent race tyre data for this track. But Casey proved to be very good under pressure once more at Mugello, so we go to Spain feeling optimistic. Loris won our first race there four years ago, and we hope he will have more time to work on the new engine spec he used for the first time at Mugello."
CASEY STONER, World Championship leader on 115 points
"We learned a few more things at Mugello last weekend and that should help us at Barcelona. As always, we will do the best we can and whatever happens, happens.
We've been doing a very good job so far this season, so now we go into every race a little more relaxed, a bit more confident in my ability. Barcelona used to be one of my favourite tracks, until they resurfaced it and it got a bit too rough, then it started to really play up with the bikes. My first couple of years it was really good, 2001 to 2003, then in 2004 it started getting too rough and in 2005 they resurfaced it. But it wasn't resurfaced really well and the F1 cars make it worse. The track is pretty hard work, it's got some really good points and some fast corners. The first sector's not too bad, most people are pretty similar through there, then the next section is really hard, but it's the last few turns that are really crucial, especially the last two right-handers. It's a very technical circuit, so hopefully it'll be another good one for us. Ducati's first ever win was here and even if it'd be nice to have another one our target is still to do our best and see what happens.”
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 7th overall on 47 points
"I'm looking forward to this race because I hope we will have good weather that will allow us to continue the work we did on our new engine spec at Mugello. The new spec works well for me - it gives more linear power delivery which is better for my riding style. I use more lean angle than other riders through the corners, so I need a more gentle feeling from the engine when I begin to use the throttle out of the turns. We made a good jump forward with the engine and the chassis at Mugello. We improved my feeling with the front end of the bike, which is vital for my style, but I still need more improvements in that area. Last year we had quite a tough weekend at Catalunya, even before the big crash, but I think this visit will be very different, I love this circuit, I got Ducati's first win there in 2003. It's a great track with a lot of long corners where you need good traction from the rear."
Catalunya is another challenging racetrack, characterised by long, constant-radius corners that place the emphasis on a flowing riding style, as well as excellent chassis and tyre performance. The circuit was resurfaced before the 2005 event. Catalunya is in the centre of Spain's motorcycle racing heartland and joined the GP fixture list in 1992, hosting the Grand Prix of Europe. Wayne Rainey won the first-ever 500 GP at the track in May '92. In '96 the event was renamed the Catalan Grand Prix.