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Ducati Marlboro men shine through Donington gloom

Ducati Marlboro men shine through Donington gloom

Ducati Marlboro men shine through Donington gloom

Ducati Marlboro Team riders Carlos Checa and Loris Capirossi managed to finish in impressive fifth and sixth positions in yesterday's rain-lashed, crash-strewn British GP, coming back from a tough two days of practice and qualifying to score one of the team's best results of the year. Despite starting from the forth and fifth rows of the grid, both Capirossi and Checa moved through the pack, maintaining control on the flooded track, while many of their rivals slid off. At one stage during the second half of the race no one was faster than the Ducati Marlboro men.

"This result is another world from where we were before," said Ducati MotoGP project manager Livio Suppo, referring to his riders' performance in the dry qualifying session. "The final positions still aren't fantastic, but both riders rode great races, coming back from a difficult first few laps to run the same rhythm as the leading group, even riding faster than them at one point.

"The Bridgestone rain tyres worked really well, so our thanks goes to Bridgestone for their hard work. Their tyres are now great in the wet, and I'm sure that by continuing to work hard we can reach the same level in the dry. It has been a difficult weekend but it has ended pretty well, so we are really looking forward to the next race next weekend."

75,000 fans braved the treacherous conditions to watch World Championship race, marred by numerous crashes and slide-offs, in fact this British GP saw more crash-outs than any other since at least 1993.

Carlos Checa rode the third fastest lap of Sunday's race on his way to fifth place. It was an amazing performance from the Ducati Marlboro Team rider who had qualified 13th and completed the first lap down in 17th position, after suffering wheelspin as he roared away from the soaking grid.

"That wasn't an easy race but we got a good result, which gives the whole team a chance to breathe," said Checa, who had given some indication of his potential by placing fourth in the damp morning warm-up session. "I got a lot of wheelspin at the start, then I wanted to get the feeling with the tyres before I began to push.

"A lot of guys were crashing and I couldn't see much, so it took me a while to feel confident. I was trying not to be too aggressive because it was so easy to fall. Considering where we were before the race, fifth and sixth is a good result for the whole team."

Like his team-mate, Loris Capirossi started from a lowly grid position and had a poor start, ending lap one in 16th place. But the Ducati Marlboro Team man kept his head in the tricky conditions, steadily moving forward as he gained confidence in the atrocious conditions, setting the fifth fastest lap of the race in the process.

"Thank God it rained," smiled a sodden Capirossi. "We were pretty fast in the damp warm-up, so I was hoping for a wet race and that's what we got. At the beginning I had an engine glitch, maybe some rain got in an ignition coil, which lost me contact with the front group. If I hadn't had that problem and I'd got a better start, maybe I could have made the podium.

"The track was very dangerous, flooded and with small rivers everywhere, plus visibility was really bad. In these conditions I prefer to get sixth, rather than lose everything with a crash. Today's race showed that the bike and tyre package worked well - Bridgestone has made great progress with its rain tyres. A difficult weekend, but I'm finally satisfied."

MotoGP, 2005, BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Ducati Marlboro Team

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