CAPIROSSI BACK UP TO SPEED AND BACK ON THE PODIUM, STONER KEEPS FIGHTING FOR FIFTH PLACE Ducati Marlboro Team rider Loris Capirossi rode a brilliant race to second place in punishing heat at the Sachsenring this afternoon, while team-mate Casey...
CAPIROSSI BACK UP TO SPEED AND BACK ON THE PODIUM, STONER KEEPS FIGHTING FOR FIFTH PLACE
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Loris Capirossi rode a brilliant race to second place in punishing heat at the Sachsenring this afternoon, while team-mate Casey Stoner came home in fifth to maintain his lead at the top of the World Championship.
Capirossi chose a different compound rear Bridgestone to Stoner and the Italian's choice paid dividends in the later stages of the race when he came through from fourth place to second. The newly resurfaced Sachsenring is ultra-demanding on tyres and today's ground temperature of more than 50 degree made tyre choice even more critical than usual. Capirossi attributed his speed to a revised engine spec and weight distribution, as well as a canny tyre choice.
Steadfast Stoner ran strongly in second place until two-thirds distance, then began slipping back, fighting a spirited rearguard battle to stay fifth, just ahead of Marco Melandri and John Hopkins. Stoner had started the race from pole position after leading every pre-race session.
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 2nd place, 8th in World Championship on 77 points
"It's been a long time, but I'm back! My team worked really hard here to find the best solution for the race. We changed the weight distribution, putting more weight on the front to give me more confidence going into the turns. The first half of the season was tough but I hope that we have now found a good way to go quick for the rest of the season. My thanks also to the Bridgestone guys, because we worked hard to choose the best race tyres, deciding to use a different rear from most of the other Bridgestone riders. At the start of the race I didn't push too hard, my tactic was to save the tyres, so I stayed behind Marco [Melandri] in fourth place. Later on I was able to continue my rhythm and move forward. I knew Nicky (Hayden) was coming during the last laps but I had enough to hold on."
CASEY STONER, 5th place, World Championship leader on 196 points
"At the start of the race I was pretty happy sitting behind Dani. He was able to find a little more traction than me in most parts and he had a bit more confidence in his bike through a lot of the turns, so I was just trying to stay there or thereabouts and see what happened at the end of the race. I didn't want to push too much harder, I was slowly pulling a gap on Melandri behind me and I thought I really want to save my tyres for the end. Then unfortunately we lost some rear grip and we weren't able to keep the same lap times, so we slowly started to drop through the pack, but we ended up fifth. Today was a damage limitation exercise. Dani [Pedrosa, the race winner] rode a great race, he was untouchable today. Towards the end Marco and John seemed to have a lot more grip than me in a few places, anyway, I fought them off and we were able to keep fifth position which is a few more points. I'm kind of disappointed, I felt we could have had a minimum of second today, reasonably easy, so we'll just have to come back at the next race and try to be stronger and iron out our weak points."
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project manager
"We're very happy to see Loris fighting up front again and back on the podium. He chose a different rear tyre from Casey which worked well for him. Casey worked hard and got the best out of his package today. He dominated every session, so he deserved to finish on the podium."