Ducati ready for wild west adventure
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau are all set for their Wild West adventure at Laguna Seca - MotoGP's most westerly venue and almost certainly its wildest racetrack. The undulating Californian circuit is a veritable rodeo ride for MotoGP riders who must control their 340kmh/211mph motorcycles around its tight, twisting layout where the average speed is just 155kmh/96mph, slower than any other MotoGP venue.
Capirossi, who led the 2006 MotoGP World Championship until he crashed at last month's Catalan Grand Prix, has already enjoyed success at Laguna. The Italian won the US 250 GP at the track way back in 1993 and is delighted to be returning to a circuit that really excites him. Team-mate Sete Gibernau hopes to be in better shape than he was at last weekend's German GP, where he rode for the first time following surgery to the left collarbone he broke at Catalunya on June 18.
"In Germany last week I was maybe 85 per cent fit and I will be even stronger for this race. I am very happy to be returning to Laguna Seca. The track is so good, so technical and now that they have made some more changes to improve safety it will be even better.
From what I have heard they have given us more run-off and smoothed out the brow at Turn One. And they have also taken away the hump on the hill before the Corkscrew. They have also resurfaced the whole track which is good news because the old surface was quite old and slippery. I love most of the circuit but especially from the Corkscrew to the end of the lap. You need a very reactive chassis to be fast at Laguna, because there are a lot of places where you need to change direction quickly. You also need really good engine control because parts of the track are so tight, too tight for MotoGP really."
"I first went to Laguna in 1993, just to watch that year's GP. It's one of those tracks that everyone knows about even if they haven't raced there, because of the Corkscrew and layout, which is so different to what we're used to.
"I raced there for the first time last year and really enjoyed myself. I enjoyed the atmosphere, I enjoyed the crowd and I enjoyed being in the US. In fact everything was really good except that I had two difficult days of practice, so it seemed like a difficult track for me but I think this visit will be very different. The team is working so well with me that I believe we will be able to have some fun but much will depend on the condition of my shoulder. It wasn't good in Germany but I've been back to my surgeon in Barcelona, and I hope that it will be a bit stronger for Laguna because it is a tough track, tight and bumpy."
Livio Suppo, Ducati MotoGP project manager
"We are really looking forward to Laguna. Last year's US GP was a fantastic event and, of course, the USA is an important market for us and there are a lot of Ducati fans in the country. Loris and Sete should be in better physical shape for this race after some difficult races following the Catalan GP accident that hurt both of them. Laguna will be interesting because it has been resurfaced and changed somewhat, so we hope it works well with our package."