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Capirossi sets a new benchmark in the top speed charts

Capirossi sets a new benchmark in the top speed charts

Capirossi sets a new benchmark in the top speed charts

Loris Capirossi's top speed at the Circuit de Catalunya was clocked at 347.4km/h by the MotoGP timing system, although it will not go down in history as the official record since it was not set during a Grand Prix event. However, that current honour also belongs to Capirossi, who set 332.409 km/h at Mugello during the Gran Premio Cinzano d'Italia last season, although it is sure to fall when the latest generation of MotoGP prototypes return to Barcelona for the Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya in May.

The Circuit de Catalunya boasts a 1,047 metre straight, the second longest on the MotoGP calendar behind Mugello at 1,141m, and with a 40km tailwind some ten riders (all on Ducati or Honda machinery) were able to break the 340 mark last Sunday.

Before arrival of four-strokes at the start of the 2002 season, there had been a three year spell without the top speed record being broken, with Max Biaggi's record of 318.584 km/h, set twice during the 1999 season at Paul Ricard and Mugello on the Yamaha, going down in history as the fastest ever top speed by a two-stroke Grand Prix motorcycle.

The 320 km/h mark was broken for the first time at Mugello in 2002, when Tohru Ukawa clocked 324.519 on the Honda RC211V, a registry which stayed as the benchmark until last season when Capirossi clocked the top three current maximum speeds of all-time.

The developments in technology during that time and the evolution of the four-stroke prototypes up to 990cc were highlighted last weekend by Capirossi, who rode his Ducati Desmosedici almost 30km/h faster than Biaggi's 500cc record at the MotoGP Official Test.

Top speeds during Grands Prix in km/h
(Test excluded)

1. 332.409 – Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati), Mugello ‘03
2. 329.871 – Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati), Phillip Island ‘03
3. 325.890 – Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati), Catalunya ‘03
4. 324.519 – Tohru UKAWA (Honda), Mugello ‘02
5. 323.547 – Valentino ROSSI (Honda), Phillip Island ‘02
6. 320.474 – Valentino ROSSI (Honda), Estoril ‘03
7. 320.151 – Valentino ROSSI (Honda), Nelson Piquet ‘03
8. 318.584 – Max BIAGGI (Yamaha), Paul Ricard ‘99
9. 318.584 – Max BIAGGI (Yamaha), Mugello ‘99
10. 317.087 – Nobuatsu AOKI (Suzuki), Mugello ‘98
11. 317.834 – Garry McCOY (Yamaha), Mugello ‘00
12. 317.180 – Tohru UKAWA (Honda), Catalunya ‘02
13. 316.159 – Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati), Valencia ‘03
14. 315.634 – Valentino ROSSI (Honda), Nelson Piquet ‘02
15. 314.868 – Regis LACONI (Yamaha), Phillip Island '99.

MotoGP, 2004, Loris Capirossi

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