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The Ducati renaissance

The Ducati renaissance

The Ducati renaissance

After a tough start to 2005, the Ducati Marlboro team had found new impetus by mid-season to convert it into their most successful campaign since joining the MotoGP scene in 2003, with six podium finishes including two victories.

Ducati breathed fresh life into the MotoGP scene when they entered Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss in the 2003 World Championship on their Desmosedici and the Italian machine was quick to make an impression against the usual horde of Japanese prototypes. Capirossi took an historic first win with the 'D16' at Catalunya and the team went on to finish on the podium eight times that year.

A radically revamped machine for 2004 didn't bring the expected results and the riders endured a frustrating season with Capirossi and Bayliss only making it onto the rostrum once each.

A revamped line-up saw Carlos Checa join Capirossi in 2005 and a new partnership with Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone meant it was bound to be a 'year of transition'. Both riders made a slow start, with both suffered injuries during pre-season. But once they were back to full fitness, and once the team had ironed out teething problems with the GP5 and discovered how to get the most out of the Bridgestone tyres, Ducati began to make their way back to the front of the field. When the season resumed at Brno, Czech Republic, after the summer break, Capirossi's second place finish served notice of the potential of the Ducati package. At the following race in Motegi, Japan, on Honda's home turf, Capirossi put in a dominant performance to take victory after starting from the pole position.

The Italian veteran was able to repeat his performance the following week in Malaysia, taking pole and victory again while Checa scored his first podium with Ducati taking third. Checa took another podium finish with third in Australia, although a heavy fall at Phillip Island sidelined Capirossi for the following round and ruled him out of the battle for the runner-up spot in the championship.

After an intense 2005 campaign, Ducati is already looking towards the future and recently launched the GP6 version of the Desmosedici during winter testing. Next year Capirossi will team-up with Spanish ace Sete Gibernau, the 2003 and 2004 runner-up, as the team attempts to consolidate its position amongst the front-runners in the MotoGP field.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2005

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