Capirossi on the charge until he fell
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Casey Stoner continued his remarkable run of performances with a masterfully judged victory in treacherously slippery conditions at rainy Donington Park today.
Team-mate Loris Capirossi was charging
hard in the late stages when he crashed out of fifth place.
Stoner and his Desmosedici GP7 have proved themselves at all kinds of racetracks and in all kinds of conditions so far this season - this was their fifth victory from eight races. The Australian didn't get the best of starts, entering the first corner in twelfth, but he stayed cool and cautious until he'd got a good feel for the conditions.
Then he started moving forward, taking the lead from Colin Edwards just after half-distance and increasing his advantage to over 11 seconds as the track began to dry, cannily cooling his tyres through any wet patches. Capirossi came through from 12th and was the fastest man on track at one point before he slid off without injury at Redgate.
"This proves to people that the Ducati doesn't just have power. We've been improving the bike and now it doesn't have any particular weak points, we just need to improve it as a complete package. Obviously today it was the best bike out there. I got a perfect jump at the start, a perfect clutch release, but then I must've hit a white line and it spun up straight away. I was panicking a little bit because everybody was zooming past and I thought I'd be last into the first corner We still got in there in a reasonable position and we were able to pick our way through. Colin seemed to be nice and smooth, but I knew I could go quicker. Then I saw the track getting drier and drier. I was worried about destroying the rear tyre, so I started going over all the wet patches.
When we got to the last five laps the tyre still had a pretty good feeling and it looked pretty good at the end of the race, considering it was our softest option. I'm not looking at the championship yet, I'm just enjoying all these races whether I win or don't finish on the podium. It's just nice to be out there, I've got the confidence in myself and in the bike to really get involved in the race and really enjoy it."
"I'm really sad about the crash because I was feeling really good and very confident. I didn't get a perfect start but I pushed very hard and caught a lot of people until I got into fifth place. My rhythm was really good and I was feeling pretty confident, so when I saw Valentino [Rossi] and Chris [Vermeulen] ahead I thought I could also catch them because I was lapping a second a lap faster. Unfortunately I lost the front at turn one and my race ended there. The tyres were working brilliantly, even though we were using a softer type. It's a shame but I'm happy with my pace and because my feeling on the bike continues to improve. If we can keep moving forward like this at Assen I think we can do well."
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project director
"I think that this victory proves once and for all that top speed isn't Casey's advantage, because top speed means nothing at this track, especially in these conditions. Casey is a genius, he is so good at managing a race. He started today's race very calmly, then when he was ready to go, bang, he could go away at the front. I'm really sorry for Loris because he was also going so well. But he is okay after his fall and the fact that he obviously found a good feeling for the bike is a very positive point. Once again the Bridgestone rain tyres were fantastic, especially considering the lack of grip here. As always, our thanks to them and also to Shell Advance for today's performance. This weekend, the Shell scientists and Ducati team worked closely to organise the airfreight delivery of an alternative blend of Shell V-Power Racing fuel from the Shell Global Solutions laboratories in Hamburg, Germany that gave us extra flexibility to adjust the engine settings for today's race."