Capirossi: ‘Sepang to show what 2014 holds’

Friday, 31 January 2014

Ahead of the Official MotoGP™ Test which is to kick-start 2014 at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit next week, motogp.com caught up with former World Champion Loris Capirossi in order extract the Italian’s views on the season ahead.

As sincere and available as always, Capirossi shares his opinions on what can be expected this year across the three categories of the World Championship. Having remained fully linked to MotoGP™ since retiring as a rider at the end of 2011, the 40-year-old also goes on to discuss his new job as a television commentator in the second part of this interview which is to be published next week.

Loris, what can we expect from this first Official Test of the year? Just a shakedown or will we be able to draw some real conclusions?
We will certainly shake off the ‘rust’ from over the winter and see how it goes with the new bikes. The test will be aimed primarily at understanding what we witness on the grid this year. It will be particularly interesting to see how the Honda RCV1000R goes against the FTR-Yamaha. Riders will have time to get back to grips with things next week, although it is the second Sepang test (to be staged at the end of February) that will be more important.

Honda and Yamaha still dominated proceedings last year. What do you believe Ducati must now do in order to return to the top?
They are now redoing their entire project. Unfortunately, last year the bike was not competitive but now they have an opportunity to switch to Dorna’s spec ECU software. If they do that (switch to Open specification machines), they would be able to enjoy the use of more engines than Honda and Yamaha and more litres of fuel, which would definitely be an advantage and give them an opportunity to get closer. However, it still looks set to be a trying year for them, whatever they do.

For Italian Moto3™ fans, much of the attention will be on Team Sky-VR46 and their two young talents (Romano Fenati and Francesco Bagnaia), with leading expertise from Vittoriano Guareschi. Can they challenge from the off?
They can and they should, no doubt about it. They have an excellent team, the riders are very competitive and I sincerely hope to see them fighting up there right from the very first race.

As for Moto2™, the battles will no longer be between Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding (having now both progressed to the MotoGP™ class). However, Moto3™ World Champion Maverick Viñales has stepped up; along with fellow Spaniards such as Tito Rabat and Luis Salom, can they control the title race?
Moto2™ has always been a very balanced class and I think things will continue that way. Last year, Espargaro won narrowly from Redding and the championship almost went right down to the last race. The bikes are all very similar, so once again it will be a great contest to follow very closely.

On to predictions for the premier class. Another title for Marquez? Lorenzo winning it back? Pedrosa or Rossi getting in on the act, perhaps?
Marquez is the favourite to become World Champion again, but Lorenzo will be very close and it will be those two fighting. Pedrosa could join the fray as well, no doubt about it – it could well be between the three of them. At the same time, Valentino will be watching them all with one year of experience on his shoulders since getting back on a Yamaha. He could form part of that top group, too.

What sort of entertainment do you reckon we will enjoy between the Factory and Open specification bikes? Will the Opens be closer to the Factories than the (now defunct) CRTs were last year?
Of course they will be. We were capable of creating a sort of ‘Ad hoc’ regulation, allowing for more litres of fuel and the softer rear tyre. We will see the bikes much closer on time in qualifying – maybe even in front of the Factory bikes. Things will be a little more difficult in the races, but we’ll have to see how it pans out.

TAGS 2014 Sepang Circuit

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