Valencia : Ducati - Preview
The Ducati Marlboro Team goes into the 2006 season finale aiming to end MotoGP's 990cc era on a high by adding to its haul of race wins and podium finishes.
Loris Capirossi will race at Valencia alongside former team-mate Troy Bayliss because
Sete Gibernau is unfit to ride following further treatment to the collarbone he broke at June's Catalan GP and damaged again at the recent Portuguese GP. Bayliss contested the 2003 and 2004 MotoGP championships with the Ducati Marlboro Team and won his second World Superbike title with Ducati earlier this month.
The 2006 season has been the Ducati Marlboro Team's most successful since it first entered the MotoGP World Championship in 2003. Capirossi has doubled his previous number of victories for the team by taking three wins (at Jerez, Brno and Motegi) plus four further podiums, two pole positions (at Jerez and Motegi) and four fastest laps.
In contesting the final 990cc MotoGP event Bayliss will ‘bookend' the public life of Ducati's 990cc Desmosedici because he also gave the V4 its first public outing at the 2002 Valencia GP, riding a few demo laps alongside Ducati test rider Vittoriano Guareschi. Both Bayliss and Capirossi have scored podium finishes on the Desmosedici at Valencia, Capirossi taking third in 2003, Bayliss third the following year.
Loris Capirossi (4th overall, 209 points):
"Estoril was a bad weekend for us but the previous four races were amazing, the bike and the tyres working really well, so we hope that we will be in similar shape at Valencia so we can once again fight for the podium.
Valencia is such a strange racetrack, like a go-kart track which makes it very tough on a MotoGP bike. The Valencia weekend is never easy because the circuit is very unusual, with many slow-speed corners that lead into each other and very few right-handers. It's maybe not the ideal racetrack for MotoGP bikes, though it seems a lot of fun on a 125 or a 250."
"Looking at the year overall, we've had some great moments and some bad moments. I think the big first-turn crash at Barcelona lost us the chance of winning the title, but I don't think about it any more, I think only of the present and of the future. I understand that this is the correct attitude because I have been racing in GPs for 17 years and during those years I have made many mistakes, but you must always move on, don't dwell on the past."
"The only way I can put it is that I appreciate the opportunity that has been given to me to race at Valencia with the Ducati Marlboro Team. I feel sorry of course for Sete, who won't be able to race in his home GP, but it sort of makes sense that I have been called to replace him. I was there at the start of the whole Ducati MotoGP project four years ago, the decision just fell into place and I am sure there are lots of people in the Company and lots of fans who want to see me at Valencia. My season has finished and I have this great opportunity now so it's nice for all concerned and it'll also be great to join up again with some of my old team and mechanics."
"I feel really good it's Valencia, because it's a track I know like the back of my hand and I've always had good results there. I'll be thrown in at the deep end and won't have much time for practice but I know the bike pretty well. The only thing I won't have tried are the Bridgestone, but we'll take it step by step and see how it goes from there."
Livio Suppo (Ducati MotoGP project manager):
"We are really sorry that once again Sete isn't fit to race, it's a real shame. For Loris, we hope he can finish the season by claiming third place overall, which will be our best result in the riders' championship. We hope he can have another great race, like the races he has had this year at Jerez, Motegi, Brno, Mugello, Sepang and so on. We count on the team and on Bridgestone to give him all the support he needs to get the result he deserves."
"Finally, a big welcome back to Troy. He was the first guy to ride the Desmosedici in public here in Valencia in 2002 and now he will ride the bike in its last race. Once we realised that Sete wasn't fit we invited Troy to race to celebrate his second Superbike title with us. We just want him to enjoy the weekend because although there will be a lot of expectation upon him, it won't be easy. He is riding a bike and tyres that he's not familiar with and he will be racing against guys who have been on their bikes all year."
THE TRACK – Valencia is one of five anti-clockwise MotoGP circuits and the second- slowest GP circuit with a lap record of just 154.9kmh, a fraction slower than Laguna Seca and marginally faster than Estoril. Most of the track's corners are slow, in-and- out turns, grouped closely together, this unusual layout affording spectators a mostly unobstructed view of the entire circuit - a real rarity in the world of motorsport.
It's an immensely physical circuit with riders afforded little rest between bouts of heavy acceleration, braking and cornering. This weekend Valencia hosts its eighth Grand Prix after featuring on the World Championship calendar for the first time in 1999. The venue is officially christened the Ricardo Tormo circuit, in honour of the late Spanish rider, a former 50cc World Champion.