Catalunya Tests



Loris Capirossi announced the arrival of Ducati to the MotoGP World Championship in stunning style today, sweeping the opening round of the BMW Best Qualifier Award with a sensational lap at the Circuit de Catalunya. The Italian clocked a 1´43.634 to beat Alex Barros to the coveted BMW 330CD which was offered to the fastest man in a one hour timed session this afternoon. Barros also dipped under 1´44 as the prize became a two-man affair in an exciting finale to the session, with World Champion Valentino Rossi left almost half a second off the pace.

It is an outstanding achievement for Italian manufacturers Ducati, who only unveiled the L-shaped four-cylinder Desmosedici at Mugello in June last year, and for Capirossi who only rode the machine for the first time at Valencia in November. With Yamaha´s M1 also making giant strides at the hands of Barros, concrete evidence is now in place that Honda have at least two serious contenders for the MotoGP title they lifted in dominant fashion with Rossi and the RC211V last season.


Look at those speeds of the Ducatis, they got that engine mapped for some serious horses and you know to get that it takes fuel, think they can run like that in a race? all while not punishing the michelin tyres? Bayliss might still need to figure it out. None the less they look impressive.


Here is what riders have to say...

Loris Capirossi, 1st position:
´I´m so happy, I really wanted that, so I rode 110 per cent! My fastest lap was hot, I went into a few corners a bit too fast but the bike still turned, no problem.´

Alex Barros, 3rd position:
´Sure it would have been great to set the fastest lap of the day, but there are no prizes for this - except the car of course - and we were here to test as many things as possible. We achieved that, completed all that was planned in our schedule while consistently being one of the quickest, and that made it a good test for me. We still need to improve, you always do, and the one thing we need to work on now is top speed, especially when you consider how quick those Ducatis are in a straight line.´

Marco Melandri, 10th position:
´I´m feeling better physically, for sure better than yesterday. This morning I crashed on the straight, simply because I braked a bit too far beyond the turn. The bike highsided, and then the steering locked when I had almost stopped. It was my mistake, maybe because I was a little bit nervous.

I felt that this was the first official test, and therefore the first competition of sorts. So I didn´t ride really well - strangely I rode better when I wasn´t trying to go as fast, or checking the lap times. Going as fast as you can for only two laps is not so important for me. Capirossi has always been the best at this kind of thing - he deserves the BMW!´

Max Biaggi, 7th position:
´Going into the corners I still have some problems and I understand we can only cure the clutch problem with new parts. We have to be patient and wait, doing our best with what we have. I know solving the clutch problem I have we can make a very big step forward.´

Valentino Rossi, 5th position:
´This is not a test; it was really the 17th GP. We really didn´t test anything - the temperature was too cold but also we start like a MotoGP and we have one hour of practice - it´s not like a real test. However the bike felt good and all the testing we have done over the winter has shown good benefit.

I´m looking forward to going to Suzuka and racing!´

Nicky Hayden, 13th position:
The weekend was good but like any other racer you always want a little more and I´d like to be in front of a few more guys. The ´qualifying´ session was fun - something a little different for me. I got on with the track real well. Tady (Okada) was helpful, as were the split times; I´ve never had that before in MotoGP. I could see where I was fast and slow. The atmosphere was great. Never heard air horns at a test!´

Sete Gibernau, 4th position:
´This weekend I was the fastest Honda, until the last minutes of testing. I had a good pace and was consistent all through the test. I want to thank the team for the work they did this weekend. Now we have to keep our heads down and keep working. It´s a pity I crashed today, I have a little injury to my right wrist, which troubled me and I could only do a few laps at a time.´
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