August 23, 2006 With the World MotoGP championship at its most exciting for more than a decade, progress is continuing behind the scenes for the radical restructuring of the class next year to an 800cc capacity limit. The day after his superb win at Brno on the weekend, Loris Capirossi made his track debut with the new 800cc Ducati Desmosedici and the Italian was immediately impressed right from the start. “The first impression was positive,” said Capirossi. “The bike's handling has improved a lot and that's important. This bike has to be ridden in a different way to the GP6, it's actually very enjoyable, a bit like a 250 machine and testing it now was interesting and useful so we can immediately start to work on it. The engine is different, obviously less powerful but it makes a great noise!”
After carrying out a series of tyre tests with the GP6 in the morning, the Italian set to work with the GP7 and completed 28 laps with the new machine, his best time being 1m59.6s.
Loris Capirossi: "This morning I did some tyre testing which went quite well and which might allow us to have some interesting developments for the next few races. Then we started with the GP7. As a first test it was very positive even though the bike still has to be developed. We expect to have to do a lot of work but the first impression was positive. The bike's handling has improved a lot and that's important. This bike has to be ridden in a different way to the GP6, it's actually very enjoyable, a bit like a 250 machine and testing it now was interesting and useful so we can immediately start to work on it. The engine is different, obviously less powerful but it makes a great noise! It has been a fantastic day, I'm very happy and tomorrow we'll continue to work hard".
Vittoriano Guareschi and Shinichi Ito (both present with their respective test teams at Brno) together with Sete Gibernau were also in the Ducati garage, watching Loris test the GP7. The Spanish rider, who missed out on last weekend's exciting race after doctors advised him not to take part, wanted to see the new machine in action. If all goes according to plan, Sete will be back on the track at the next GP at Sepang, Malaysia on September 10th.
Filippo Preziosi (Ducati Corse Technical Director): "Today was another important day for all of us. Of course it is far too early to give a definitive opinion on the GP7 because it was the first time Loris had stepped onto the bike and because we still have to face up to our rivals. I can only say that I am satisfied: the bike seems to have got off to a good start. We have structured the project in an attempt to iron out some of the weak points of the GP6 that emerged chiefly with the chassis: we think we have identified them and have managed to resolve them. In fact Loris's comments that the bike reacts well and has a good rideability are positive. For sure it's a good start but we've still got a lot of work to do: the bike that won the race yesterday is the one we've been working on for the last four years and this one has just been born. A big thanks to all the guys in Ducati Corse, the guys in the team and all our sponsors who believe in us and who give us important support all year round".
Sete Gibernau: "Yesterday I was over the moon for Loris's win! I feel part of the family and I am always happy when the guys do well. The GP7 is a very important project and I also wanted to be here for the test. Loris said that the bike is going well and I would love to be able to test it as well but for the moment it's better not to. I should be back on the track in Malaysia: mentally I'm at 100% and I hope that the tests I'll be doing next week will confirm that I will be physically as well. The plate broke at Laguna Seca and now I've got two inside me, held together with 15 screws. If it breaks again, it'll be much worse because I'll have to have a bone graft from my hip to repair it. In any case, I'm sure that this rest period is doing me good and hopefully things will be OK for September 10th: I've had too much vacation and now I can't wait to be back in action!"