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Loris Capirossi wins BMW Award at MotoGP appetiser

Loris Capirossi wins BMW Award at MotoGP appetiser

Loris Capirossi wins BMW Award at MotoGP appetiser

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. Expectations that 2003 will provide one of the most open and exciting seasons in Grand Prix history have been confirmed at Barcelona, and the countdown has begun for the series opener at Suzuka in three weeks´ time.

Rossi´s HRC colleagues Max Biaggi, Tohru Ukawa and Daijiro Kato all lapped under pole record time, whilst 250cc World Champion Marco Melandri showed his MotoGP credentials with the eight fastest time of the hour session, ahead of his team-mate Carlos Checa, despite suffering from a sore shoulder. Troy Bayliss paid his first ever visit to this circuit earlier this week but he showed that he can adapt quickly to the MotoGP track layouts and completed a memorable day for Ducati by making the top ten.

MotoGP, 2003

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