MAJESTIC CAPIROSSI WINS AGAIN IN JAPAN
Ducti Marlboro Team rider Loris Capirossi scored a majestic victory at sun-blessed Motegi this afternoon, beating his 2005 race-winning time by a massive 17 seconds to record his second consecutive Japanese Grand Prix success. Team-mate Sete Gibernau had a fine ride to fourth, just 1.3 seconds away from scoring his first podium for the team.
Capirossi was in breathtaking form, starting from pole position and leading from the first lap to the chequered flag, gradually building an advantage over his closest rivals Marco Melandri and Valentino Rossi. And when Rossi moved past Melandri into second and tried to make a run on the leader, Capirossi responded in devastating fashion, recording a 1m 47.5s lap with just five laps remaining to put the matter beyond doubt! He crossed the line a full five seconds ahead of Rossi to move into fourth place in the championship, 31 points down on the series leader with two races to go.
Gibernau rode hard to defend fourth place during the final laps, Shinya Nakano crashing out when he was just a few centimetres behind the Spaniard three corners from the flag.
Capirossi's impressive win was applauded by 600 local Ducati fans in the Ducati grandstand at Motegi; Japan is one of Ducati's most important national markets. Both Capirossi and Gibernau stay at Motegi tomorrow for an important test of the factory's new 800cc GP7 which the team will race in 2007.
Loris Capirossi, Ducati Marlboro Team, winner, 4th overall, 205 points
"I think that was a pretty amazing race. It all started on Friday when my team immediately found a good setting and Bridgestone came here with many good new tyres. I was able to find a good rhythm in practice and we were very fast in warm-up, so our target was to get a great start and just go. I got the start, but Marco tried to overtake me on the first lap. I said to myself it's better he doesn't come past because I didn't know if his pace was as fast as mine. After six or seven laps I started to take a small advantage, then after half-distance my pitboard told me Valentino was coming. At that moment I was going a little bit slow and when I saw Valentino coming very quick I had to go faster again. My pace was very good, 47s all race. This victory is very important to us and I don't think the championship will be over until the last race. To win here in Japan is a fantastic thing for us to do, and also for Bridgestone. My thanks to all my team and to all our sponsors."
Sete Gibernau, Ducati Marlboro Team, finished 4th, 10th overall, 95 points
"That wasn't so bad but I can't be happy. We missed the race because I was too slow at the beginning. I didn't get a grip of the bike until past half-race distance and that was my mistake. I didn't even feel anything from Nakano. Actually after that right-hander I looked back to see if he was going to try and attack into the next fast left but he wasn't there, so I flicked it into the turn and then I looked back on the start-finish and he wasn't there. I just feel sorry for him and I'm glad he doesn't seem to be badly hurt. Now we've got two races left, so two more goes at the podium this year, we just need to keep our heads down from the first lap to the last."
Livio Suppo, Ducati MotoGP project manager
"It is a really great feeling to win for the second year running in Japan. The team did a great job once again this weekend, Bridgestone worked so well too, so our thanks to them and to Shell Advance for their vital technical support. However, it was Loris who was unbelievable today, truly unbelievable! Sete rode a good race but he lost too much time during the first few laps".