Loris Capirossi will create history later today when he begins the San Marino Grand Prix, and thereby sets a new all-time record for grand prix appearances.
Misano will mark Capirossi's 277th event, passing the current highest total shared equally with Alex Barros. The amazing achievement stretches back over 19 years of racing at the highest level by the popular Italian star, a career that has so far included three world championship titles, 29 wins, 99 podiums and 41 pole positions.
To celebrate this fantastic achievement, Capirossi was presented with a celebratory cake straight after this morning's warm-up session at Misano. He will also race in a one-off helmet design and his pit-box and Suzuki GSV-R will feature specially made graphics to acknowledge 277 appearances.
"This is a fantastic moment for me - but it makes me think I am getting old!" smiled the 35-year-old. "I still love racing though and have as much desire as I did when I started. I used to look at 30-year-old guys when I began at GPs and think 'wow that's old' but now I guess the young guys look at me and think that!
"I really want to thank everyone who has helped me in my career and it is great that I have broken this record with Suzuki because working with them is just fantastic. I now plan to go on to make 300 appearances, win more races and get more podiums!" he joked.
The San Marino Grand Prix is the 738th grand prix event to be staged since the world championship series began in 1949, meaning that Capirossi has competed in a staggering 37.5% of all GP events!
Capirossi, who has qualified eleventh on the grid, expects to be retained by Suzuki for the 2009 season.