Capirossi fights back from luckless Saturday
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Casey Stoner won a breathtaking three-man battle for victory at Catalunya this afternoon to extend his points lead at the top of the MotoGP World Championship.
Team-mate Loris Capirossi also
rode a storming race, riding to sixth place from his sixth-row start, the legacy of a luckless qualifying session here.
Stoner had it all - stunning attack and superb defence - as he fought with Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa throughout the 25 laps to keep 112,000 sun-soaked fans on their feet. The Australian enjoyed the lion's share of the lead, attacking immediately whenever passed. The trio crossed the line in that order, covered by seven tenths.
In 31 degree heat, Capirossi charged through from 17th on the grid, getting into an impressive rhythm to keep moving forward.
Stoner's fourth win of 2007 keeps Ducati at the top of the constructors' championship and the Ducati Marlboro Team ahead in the teams' championship.
CASEY STONER, winner, World Championship leader on 140 points
"Going into this weekend we weren't sure how things would go. At Mugello we had a few difficulties and we thought it might be the same here. On Friday we weren't exactly on the pace, we were losing a lot in a couple of areas. Fortunately, the team worked really hard, we came up with a solution on Saturday morning and since then we've kept the bike exactly the same. The whole team did a great job this weekend and proved wrong people who said we can't win on European tracks. There were some nice passing manoeuvres going on everywhere.
All three of us had our strong points and our weak points around the circuit, I was just trying to minimise my weak points and cover my lines, and it worked out. It was such a close race, no one could go away, it was very, very enjoyable to be racing that close. It was really good because our bike was set up quite well for the braking points, so for Valentino to pass us he usually had to run wide and we were able to pass him back immediately a lot of times. The way the team has set up the bike for me is fantastic, and the Bridgestones worked great again, at a circuit where they've struggled in the past, so they've really changed things around. Today was another great race for us, I'm still not thinking about the championship, maybe later in the season we can really start aiming for that."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 6th place, 7th in World Championship on 57 points
"I made a good start but I wasn't so fast into the first corner because I've not got good memories of turn one from last year. Anyway, at the end of the first lap I was already 11th, but after I'd passed Edwards I lost a few seconds fighting with Melandri, otherwise I could have been fifth. Anyway, 17th to sixth is not so bad, I'm not disappointed. I knew I could ride at a decent pace and if I had had a better grid position I could have gone with John [Hopkins], though maybe not with the first three. I really want to say thanks to the team because they stuck with me throughout the weekend. For warm-up we completely changed the set-up to find better traction, and we did well because the bike was better. I was very depressed after qualifying but the people around me really love me, so after an hour I was ready to fight again. We used the standard engine spec today because it's got more speed, but we will give the new spec another try at other tracks."
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project director
"That was one of the most beautiful races we've seen, and an special feeling because two years ago here we struggled with tyres, but Bridgestone have done an unbelievable job. Casey proved once again that he is an unbelievable talent - very smart, with a great capacity to manage a race. We are very proud to have him on board - it's not the top speed, it's the man! We are also happy for Loris, who came back from yesterday's difficulties to ride a good race at a fast rhythm which should be good for his confidence. I'd like to thank everyone involved, including our technical partners Bridgestone and Shell Advance for their crucial support.”