It was 2002 when Ducati presented its MotoGP at Mugello and observing it there was a rider who would make the history of the Borgo Panigale manufacturer. “I was in the front row watching it, I was a fan of Ducati in SBK, where it dominated,” Loris Capirossi told us at Valencia, the track where, a few months later, he tested the Desmosedici for the first time.
"Perhaps I was braver than other riders who refused that challenge - he smiles - I, on the other hand, accepted it with enthusiasm, along with Bayliss. But the first test was a shock: the bike was very fast but it didn't go straight. I don't know how many frames we already changed in those first tests, we were trying to stiffen everything”.
It went well: fastest lap in winter tests (at that time there was a car up for grabs in Barcelona), podium at Suzuka in the first race, victory in the third at Montmeló. But it wasn't all plain sailing.
“The Ducati heated up a lot, at Mugello Troy and I burned our legs - Capirex continued his story - It was a rough bike, it leaked oil, it ended up on the tyres and threw you into the air. Each time, before we pushed, we had to look at our feet to check for any lubricant. It was ‘ignorant’, as they say in our country, and in 2004, then, it became a rocket-ship: on the straight I reached 350 km / h, it's a pity it didn't turn ”.
Things improved with the screamer engine and Loris, in 2006, came one step away from the title, but the crash in Barcelona caused by Gibernau decided otherwise.
“I have no regrets, it was still a good season - says Capirossi - Then in 2007 we switched to 800 cc engines and that bike seemed made for Stoner. He was very good at taking the title to Borgo Panigale, but that bike was difficult to ride, I said and I was right because then Casey started to struggle too. I returned to Ducati in 2011, I thought that with Valentino the bike was good, instead I found the worst Ducati I have ever ridden. I have it in my garage”.
The Italian then decided to retire.
"I have no regrets, I retired at the right time, but I told my wife a few nights ago: I would have liked to have had such a competitive Ducati in my day - he confides - Dall'Igna has created a good group and a well-balanced bike".
So much so that sometimes it is given too much credit, perhaps.
"Everyone is strong with the Ducati, but Bagnaia is the winner - Loris pointed out - He is the most complete rider, this year he has matured a lot and his potential is even greater than what we can see: the merits are always divided between the bike and the rider. I know that these days he has the whole world in his head, I advise him to stay calm and be the Pecco he knows”.
Next year Ducati will again have a pair of Italian riders...
“Bagnaia and Bastianini are two nice roosters, different from each other but both fast. It will be a good championship!" assured Loris.