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High hopes for Ducati riders on familiar ground

High hopes for Ducati riders on familiar ground

High hopes for Ducati riders on familiar ground

Ducati Marlboro team riders Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss both have high hopes for the ninth round of the season at Donington Park this weekend, a circuit where they both have fond memories. For Capirossi, the Cinzano British Grand Prix marks a return to the track that gave him his first ever victory, way back in August 1990, on his way to the 125cc World Championship title.

Since then the affable Italian has won a further two world titles - another 125 crown in 1991 and the 250 prize in 1998 - as well as three victories in the premier class. Now riding the latest Twin Pulse version of the Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP4, Capirossi is aiming for his first top-three finish of 2004 after a promising run last Sunday at the Sachsenring which ended when he slid off while in third position.

"The Twin Pulse engine should be good at Donington, because you need very useable power delivery around this track," he says. "It's a really nice track to ride around, and it will always be special to me because I won my first GP here and I also had some success there in the previous year's Euro round.

"The first section is great but the second section is the worst part, it's all braking and low-gear acceleration. The latest MotoGP bikes are very, very powerful, so they're not so much fun in hairpins. But it's okay. I also like the atmosphere at Donington - the British fans love their motorcycles and they really appreciate good racing."

Former World Superbike Champion Bayliss also has fond memories of Donington, having lived nearby when he was contesting the British Superbike championship on a Ducati in 1998 and 1999.

"It's a good track, a rider's track, that's why people like riding there," he says. "It's got a bit of everything, the first section is really flowing with some fast changes of direction, then it's got the little tricky section at the end of the lap.

"It's far out that they've resurfaced the place - it should be fast this year. In the past you've always needed a lot a lot of front-end feel there and I guess it'll be the same this time.

"Last year I had a couple of little crashes in practice but the race didn't go too bad. We usually have a little bit of fun at Donington because we didn't live far from the place when I was racing in Britain, so we generally have a few mates along."

Team director Livio Suppo is also confident of a good weekend for his riders, who he believes have been out of luck in recent weeks. "At the last three races we have really showed our potential, we just haven't been lucky enough to get the results to back that up," says Suppo.

"During practice sessions at the Sachsenring both Loris and Troy showed a really good race pace which should have had us in the leading group. After a good start, Loris slid off while in third place and Troy, who on the contrary had a bad start, was running at a race pace that was similar to that of the leading group before he crashed. As we look forward to Donington I'd like to thank Ducati Corse and everyone in the team for their hard work and also the riders for never giving up."

Ducati Marlboro Team technical director Corrado Cecchinelli also believes that his riders' recent pace promises much for the rest of the season and is aiming for a good result at Donington.

"This is a real racetrack because it has a bit of everything - fast downhill corners, maybe the slowest hairpin in MotoGP, very heavy braking and a tight chicane, so you need a well-balanced bike that does everything," explains Cecchinelli.

"It's also a typical British track, because it really tests a rider's bravery. As at the Sachsenring, we will only use the Twin Pulse engine which makes the bike easier to manage, both for the team, because it makes the chassis less critical to set up, and for the riders, because it is more friendly on the track."

Ducati are also set to use a new engine lubricant at Donington for the first time. new Shell Advance L6441 lubricant has been tailored specifically to the needs of the Desmosedici engine by the Shell Global Solution's chemists at the PAE laboratory in Hamburg, Germany.

Created by the blending of the highest specification oils with chemical components known as "friction modifiers", the resulting new lubricant minimises organic decay while under extreme loads, reduces specific consumption and increases engine performance.

* Enjoy our additional interviews with the Ducati Marlboro Team staff by clicking on the links at the top of the page.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, CINZANO BRITISH GRAND PRIX

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