Ducati rider's Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss arrived at Sepang expecting another positive performance, the team having already tested at the Malaysian circuit during the pre-season, but come Sunday's GP and the team were still chasing a stable race set-up for the Desmosedici - a battle they would lose.

Capirossi made a great start from the second row to race into second place at the first turn. But the first few laps weren't kind to the Italian who slipped back a little before upping his pace and enjoying and entertaining tussle with Nicky Hayden and Carlos Checa, who would both eventually gain the upper hand.

"I made a great start, lost some time, then pushed hard to recover that time," confirmed Capirossi the most gruelling race of the season. "We knew we didn't have the set-up 100 per cent here but the race was better than Motegi. This track is very slippery in the heat, so I was sliding around a lot.

"We don't lack power, just traction because we didn't have perfect settings for this circuit. But this is our first year, a learning year, and we're learning plenty. Finally, my congratulations to Valentino for winning the championship, he rode a great season," he offered.

Team-mate Bayliss had a similar battle with his #12 V4, but was still content after a ninth placed finish.

"It was actually quite a good race, I was feeling okay," said Bayliss, who had started from the third row of the grid. "But even when things were good the bike was lacking something, then the set-up we used wrecked the rear tyre. From two-thirds distance, even before, the rear was coming around as I rolled into turns and I was losing the rear on the gas. I was just sitting on the bike and not going anywhere. But we'll learn from this, I'll be having a long debrief with my guys this evening."

"We got a lot out of this weekend. Although we did test here last winter, that was nine months ago, so plenty has changed since then and this was our first race here anyway," stated team director Livio Suppo, backtracking on previous comments that the team would be well prepared after the pre-season visit.

"We learned plenty and confirmed what we knew already, that we need to work to improve our set-up for slippery tracks like this. Both guys rode good races today, they did the best with what they had and we go to Phillip Island in positive mood," he added.

Bayliss is expected to be a force to be reckoned with this Sunday, when he will race in front of his home fans in the Australian Grand Prix.



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