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Ducati men ready to get back to work at Brno

Ducati men ready to get back to work at Brno

Ducati men ready to get back to work at Brno

The MotoGP circus returns from its summer recess at Brno this week feeling rested, relaxed and ready to launch into the final seven events of the thrill-packed 2004 season. The Gauloises Grand Prix Ceske Republiky is an important race for everyone on the grid, but especially for Ducati Marlboro Team riders Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss, who are aiming to maintain the momentum they had built during the last few GPs before the holidays.

At last month's Cinzanio British Grand Prix both men qualified their Desmosedici GP4s inside the top four and also proved their potential in the race, Capirossi leading for the first time this year and Bayliss lapping within 0.15 seconds of the new Donington Park lap record. Their improving pace follows the recent introduction of Ducati's new and rider-friendly Twin Pulse engine.

"We are now as competitive as we were last year," says Ducati Marlboro Team director Livio Suppo. "I think we can genuinely feel proud of the way in which we recovered from a difficult start to our 2004 season. If you consider that the other top factories have improved their bikes since the first race, that shows we have improved even more.

"Troy's lap times at Donington showed that we are right there in terms of absolute performance, so we are really looking forward to Brno and the remainder of the season. Last year at Brno we had out most competitive race - both Troy and Loris were in the hunt for victory and we aim to be part of the show again."

Technical director Corrado Cecchinelli is also confident of a good weekend in the Czech Republic. "Brno is a flowing track, which suits our bike," says Cecchinelli. "In fact our 2004 machine is now a more balanced than last year's bike, so I think it should suit every track from now on.

"At Brno you need a lot of confidence in the front end, because there are a lot of downhill corners with negative camber. You also need a bike that can change direction quickly, because there are a lot of esses."

Last year at Brno Capirossi battled for the lead until a minor electrical fault ended his charge in the closing stages of the race. Over the years the Czech track has offered mixed fortunes to the Italian - he has scored Brno podium finishes in the 125, 250 and premier class but he's never won a race at the circuit.

"I like this track very much because it is quite fast and very technical," he says. "It is a 'harmonic' track, where your riding needs to flow. The race will be a big event for us because since we got the Twin Pulse engine at Assen we have shown that we are very fast.

"The first part of season was really hard but now Troy and I are happy with bike. I can't wait for the race. I am now rested after that crazy schedule of six races over eight weekends in June and July. During the holidays I have done nothing!

"We went to Italy for a few days, to see my parents near Imola and then Ingrid's parents in Trieste, then back to Monaco, just resting at home and in my boat."

Bayliss had his best ride of last season at Brno, leading rivals Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau for half the race and eventually finishing third, just 0.6 seconds down on winner Rossi.

"I liked Brno pretty much straight away when I first tested there last year," says the Australian. "It's pretty fast and very wide, with a few corners you can't really see until you're on them. I guess you could say it's a little like Phillip Island, because it's flowing, so it keeps the bikes together and makes for good racing.

"There's a few tracks where you've got to have a lot of confidence in the front, and this is one of them because there's a lot of negative camber turns. There's also a lot of second-gear corners but overall it's pretty fast. I can't wait to get back there.

"After Donington I know I can race up front and I've been training hard over the break, so I can come back strong at Brno. But apart from the training I've just been kicking back with the family in Monaco, plus we had a week's holiday in Majorca."


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