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Ducati take trip down memory lane at Donington

Ducati take trip down memory lane at Donington

As the MotoGP World Championship prepares for the race at Donington Park, both factory Ducati riders make a return to a track which holds fond memories this weekend.

As the MotoGP World Championship prepares for the race at Donington Park, both factory Ducati riders make a return to a track which holds fond memories this weekend.

For Casey Stoner, currently leading the World Championship by 14 points, the midlands circuit is where it all began. Contesting his first ever road race at Donington Park back in 2000, the Australian then made his Grand Prix debut at the very same track a year later. Whilst he has only managed to step onto the podium once in Britain, back in 2005 when riding in the 250cc class, Stoner is unfazed by a track which is perhaps not ideal for the 21 year old.

"We are still learning and going forward, always gaining experience with the Ducati. After Barcelona we go to Donington with a positive attitude, it could be a tough track for us but we've already proved this year that the Ducati is good at a lot of circuits," explains Stoner, who was presented with a Bianchi Scrambler XR from the renowned bicycle manufacturer's boss Davide Brambilla after winning in Catalunya. "

I've never really cracked Donington, but we'll see how we can piece it together this time. The flowing part is tough, down through Craner and into the Old Hairpin you're braking on the side of the tyres and the bike's moving around. I find the circuit a little dangerous in some points, if they improved that it'd probably be more enjoyable. Some of the other turns are a little bit funny, so it's really hard to try and compromise the set-up - whether you set it up for the tight and twisty bits, which are very important at the end of the race if you're in a battle, or if you set it up for the faster bits, where you make the time. I'm still not thinking about the championship, maybe later in the season we can start aiming for it, but the way we're going now is just perfect, so we're going to continue doing the same thing."

Seventeen years ago, a fresh-faced Loris Capirossi took his first World Championship win at Donington Park. Winning the 1990 125cc race onboard a Honda, the victory kickstarted what has been a marvellous career for the Italian.

"We go to Donington feeling quite optimistic, after a difficult weekend at Barcelona which ended well enough, thanks to some fantastic support from my team and the people around me," says the 34 year old. "I have always liked Donington, not only because it's where I won my first GP in 1990. The circuit is a real challenge to ride, especially the fast section, from Craner all the way through to Coppice, though the tighter corners at the end of the lap aren't so much fun. It is very important to have good engine characteristics for this track, so we will probably try the engine spec I used in practice at Mugello. We think this spec will also help at some of the other upcoming circuits, like the Sachsenring and Laguna Seca. It is also important to have good front-end feeling at Donington, you need that to attack the faster corners, and this is something we've been improving at the last few races."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, NICKEL & DIME BRITISH GRAND PRIX

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