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Ducati ready for 'The Cathedral'

Ducati ready for 'The Cathedral'

Ducati ready for 'The Cathedral'

Ducati Marlboro Team riders Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss head for ‘The Cathedral' of bike racing next weekend in confident mood. Assen is so called because many regard it as the pinnacle of the sport - not only is it the fastest MotoGP track of all, it is also the twistiest, offering a unique challenge to both riders and engineers alike.

Both Capirossi and Bayliss love the place and can't wait to begin practice because they will use Ducati's new Twin-Pulse Desmosedici engine for the first time at a Grand Prix. The pair tested the revised firing-interval engine for the first time following the recent Catalan GP, putting them in high spirits as the season approaches the halfway stage.

"Both riders like the new engine, it makes them feel more comfortable on the bike," says Ducati Marlboro Team director Livio Suppo. "Ducati Corse is showing that it has a capacity to react quickly and all our hard work of the past few months is starting to pay off. I believe that we are on the way back."

Ducati Marlboro Team technical director Corrado Cecchinelli adds: "We are improving all the time and I think Assen could be good for us. I just hope we aren't as unlucky as we were at Catalunya. Assen is a great challenge for riders, which is why some people call it the university of racing.

"It's got many high-speed corners, so it really tests a rider's bravery. But it's not a proper 'test bench' for bikes because it is so unlike other tracks - it doesn't feature much heavy braking, it's mostly high-speed direction changes with a lot of cambered corners and there's no downhill or uphill sections."

Loris Capirossi scored pole position at Assen last June and is hopeful of another good showing on this visit. Currently eighth in the MotoGP points chase, Capirossi's remarkable riding style has won him plenty of success at Assen, a racetrack that offers real rewards for riding talent. He won the 1993 and 1999 Dutch 250 TTs, scored premier-class podiums in 2000 and 2001 and took pole last year aboard his Ducati Desmosedici.

"I love the Assen track, it is very special and really good to ride," says the Italian. "I can't wait to try the new engine there. I believe this engine has more potential, but of course it will take a little time to fully understand it, especially as far as engine setting and gearbox ratios go.

"I got pole position last time at Assen and really thought I had a good chance in the race, but then it rained. The weather is usually the only problem at Assen, but at least the track is very grippy, even in heavy rain.

"The first part of the circuit is really good, all the way to the bit they changed, then the fast section near the end of the lap - the quick left and the fast left/right at Hoge Heide - is also a lot of fun."

Troy Bayliss is looking forward to trying the twin-pulse engine at Assen weekend following a strong showing at the recent Catalan GP, which sadly ended after he crashed four laps from the end while fighting for fifth position. Bayliss was battered and bruised in the ensuing crash but should be 100 per cent fit for the Gauloises Dutch TT.

"I had a good time testing the Twin-Pulse motor in Spain, so I'm looking forward to trying it at Assen," says Bayliss who has won two World Superbike races for Ducati at the track. "The motor is a lot better and it makes the bike easier to ride. Assen has got to be one of the most physical tracks we go to - it's all high-speed flip-flops.

"The GP bike is lighter than the Superbike but it goes faster, so it's still very physical because you're changing direction all the time at high speed. You have to work the bike the whole time, it's just very physical to ride, though I do like riding there. It's pretty grippy and the camber makes it interesting."


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