Malaysian GP: Bridgestone preview

Sepang -- September 21st, 2005 Malaysia GP -- Preview Motegi-winner Loris Capirossi enjoys new thrills -- and is set for another success in Malaysia Ducati-star Loris Capirossi, who broke the dominance of the Japanese manufacturers on their own...

Sepang -- September 21st, 2005 Malaysia GP -- Preview Motegi-winner Loris Capirossi enjoys new thrills -- and is set for another success in Malaysia Ducati-star Loris Capirossi, who broke the dominance of the Japanese manufacturers on their own home turf with a spectacular MotoGP victory in last Sunday's Motegi Grand Prix, is set for another success in Malaysia this weekend. The 32-year Italian had clocked fastest at the first big pre-season testing session in Sepang back in January, and the combination of his Ducati Desmosedici and Bridgestone tyres has only become stronger in the meantime.

"We had a good time testing here during winter"; remembers Capirossi, "Sepang is a really great track, one of the best. I love it, because it's very technical, with fast corners, slow corners, downhill and uphill parts, plus it's so wide, which makes it good for fighting. It's also got two long straights, which should be good for us because our bike is always fast. We were not particularly consistent when we were here testing, but I know that the tyres have improved a lot since we were last here."

With high track temperatures of more than 50 degrees and a track surface without a lot of grip, the 5.548 kilometre Sepang track has always been hard on tyre durability, but Bridgestone is well prepared for the challenge. A total of 1100 tyres have been shipped to Sepang, with approximately 4 to 5 front and 6 to 8 rear tyres to chose from. Most of the tyres are based on the tyre construction that proved successful in Motegi, but with different compound variations in order to adjust to Malaysia's tropical heat.

When team and tyre technicians set up their garages in the Sepang paddock, Loris Capirossi had a chance to enjoy another spectacular thrill ride on the passenger seat of F1-powerboat World Champion Guido Cappellini. "This was a sensational experience. Guido gets on the throttle and takes the turns with incredible speed -- a MotoGP bike doesn't come close", smiled Capirossi after the experience on a lake in nearby Putrajaya.

Suzuki rider John Hopkins also joined Cappellini for a few demonstration laps, and was similary impressed. "This was really great -- going into a turn without braking at all, that's a feeling we don't get too often", beamed the Californian.

Whereas Hopkins can't wait to get onto his bike again to repeat his strong Motegi performance -- he finished fifth behind Capirossi's Ducati team-mate Carlos Checa -- one out of the six Bridgestone riders had to skip the race in Sepang. German Kawasaki rider Alex Hofmann suffered a broken left ankle when he collided and crashed in Motegi, and was rushed back to a specialist in Munich where the fracture was pinned. Frenchman Olivier Jacque, who rode the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR to second place in the rain-soaked Chinese Grand Prix back in May, flew in to replace Hofmann at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Hiroshi Yamada - Motorcycle Racing Manager -- Bridgestone Motorsport "In the last race at Motegi, we had our first victory of the season, along with a pole position, record lap time, and a defense of our JapanGP win of 2004. I am very happy that we've achieved this result, and I want to thank Loris and Ducati once again for all their hard work. The latest generation tyre used at Motegi was of high potential and we have brought this family of tyres to Sepang this weekend. All our riders are comfortable with this spec, but we will also provide several variations of compounds to deal with the heat of Malaysia. We hope for similarly good results as we achieved in Motegi!"

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Carlos Checa , Loris Capirossi , John Hopkins , Alex Hofmann