Capirossi battles to ninth in Qatar thriller
Loris Capirossi recorded a hard-fought ninth position on his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R in the season opening round of the 2010 MotoGP World Championship.
Capirossi celebrated his 300th Grand Prix start by lining up for the race with
his bike sporting the number 300, instead of his usual 65, as well as a gold-plated helmet. Capirossi got a solid start to the 22-lap race, but was boxed in early on and relegated to eighth by the end of the first lap. He was then involved in a long battle with Colin Edwards, before finally crossing the line just behind the Texan.
Alvaro Bautista had an entertaining, but ultimately fruitless debut race as he crashed on the very last corner when fighting for 11th place. Bautista got a poor start as he was hit by another rider, relegating him to last place. He took a few laps to get into a good rhythm, before recording several personal best laps during the mid-way point of the race. Bautista then set about making his way up to the riders in-front of him and as he chased down Marco Simoncelli on the last lap, he pushed too hard in the final bend and crashed.
The battle at the front of the race saw World Champion Valentino Rossi walk away victorious after pole-setter Casey Stoner crashed. Behind Rossi, an exciting three-way clash entertained the crowd, with Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso just squeezing out Nicky Hayden to the final podium positions.
The Rizla team will now travel to the home of Suzuki for the next round of the season, as the MotoGP circus heads to Motegi in Japan for the second race in the championship, to be held on Sunday 25th April.
"I am a bit upset about the result because we thought we would go better than that. We have worked hard all weekend, but we struggled with the conditions today, because it was so different to yesterday with a lot more humidity tonight. I struggled in the third section of the track and was not very fast there, but in other sections I was quite strong. My rhythm was not too good and in the end I was just trying to defend my position. We don't need results like this; we need to be nearer the front, especially for all the effort that everybody is putting in. It was not easy, but we need to keep working well and feeling well. I feel sorry for Alvaro because he has had a tough weekend, but we will continue to work hard together and makes things happen."
"This has been a disaster of a race for me! Seriously though, I had a bad start and Barbera pushed me out on lap two and I lost everything. I used the next part of the race like a practice because I had no other riders to fight with. In the middle of the race I got a better rhythm and it was not so bad. I caught two riders, but in the last corner I crashed. I feel like I cannot say that I have done my first MotoGP race because I never finished. The positive thing is that my rhythm was not too bad and for the next race we can only improve. We must continue to work hard and to try to make things better."
Paul Denning - Team Manager:
"The Qatar Grand Prix has never been particularly kind to Suzuki and today was not really a lot different! Loris rode as hard as ever in his 300th Grand Prix, but did not have the confidence to push the bike especially hard in the fast corners. He felt that his pace was terrible, but in fact over race distance it averaged out at less than a second a lap from the winner. So I am sure we can make significant improvements over the next couple of races and see Loris a lot closer to the sharp end.
"For Alvaro it was certainly an interesting debut Grand Prix, but overall the whole team was very encouraged with his potential and his commitment. We are not at all worried by the result and neither should he be. I am pretty sure that if he had not been closing down a certain Mr Simoncelli by over a second a lap, with the chance of getting him on the final corner, then he would have finished!
"Alvaro won the 250cc Grand Prix at Motegi last year and it is a great track for Loris as well. So, we are looking for a much better weekend in Japan."