This weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix will see current factory Ducati rider Loris Capirossi make his landmark 100th premier-class grand prix start.

During his seven seasons in the 500cc and MotoGP categories the Italian has built an enduring reputation for being one of the most exciting and determined riders on the world stage. He has also scored three victories and a total of 24 podium finishes.

"I didn't even know this was my 100th race in the big class until some Italian journalists phoned me a few days ago," said the 31-year old. "To make 100 races is pretty good, really nice. But then I thought 'Wow, I must be really old!' but my feeling is still the same as when I first came to GPs as a 16-year old."

Capirossi made his 500 debut in 1995, after twice coming close to winning the 250 title in 1993 and 1994. He ended the '95 season with his first premier-class podium and followed that with his first victory in 1996.

But then he decided he had unfinished business in 250s, returning to that class in 1997 and winning the title in 1998. In 2000 he came back to 500s with Honda Pons before joining the Ducati Marlboro team last year, when he made history by winning the factory's first premier-class victory.

"I've seen many things change during my time. I've raced with Schwantz, Doohan, Criville and so many other great riders," reflected Loris. "It's all been a great experience, especially racing with the Ducati Marlboro Team.

"I've won three races in 500 and MotoGP but I've enjoyed them all, they've all been the best," continued the #65. "Maybe most of all I've enjoyed making a lot of friends over the last 15 years. How much longer will I race? I don't now, maybe two, three or four years because I still love what I do so much."

Capirossi first hit the headlines in his debut GP season in 1990 when he won the 125 title at the age of just 17, then retained the title the next year. He remains the sport's youngest-ever word champ, despite a lowering of the minimum age limit from 16 to 15.

Loris Capirossi data log:

Date of birth: April 4 1973 (age 31) Marital status: married to Ingrid Lives: Monaco Birth place: Rio Le Terme, Italy Height: 164cm. Weight: 58kg Sports: Trials, swimming First pole: Australia, 1991 (125) Interests: movies, Classical music

GP Victories: 23 (1xMotoGP, 2x500, 12x250, 8x125)World Championships: 3 (125: 1990, 1991, 250: 1998)GP debut: Suzuka, Japan, 1990 (125)First GP victory: Britain, 1990 (125)GP starts: 210 (40xMotoGP, 59x500, 84x250, 27x125)Pole positions: 36 (3xMotoGP, 5x500, 23x250, 5x125)

Race record:

1988 - 8th 125 Italian Sport Production Championship (Mancini)
1989 - 4th 125 European Championship (Honda)
1990 - 125 World Champion (Honda)
1991 - 125 World Champion (Pileri Honda)
1992 - 12th 250 World Championship (Pileri Honda)
1993 - 2nd 250 World Championship (Pileri Honda)
1994 - 3rd 250 World Championship (Pileri Honda)
1995 - 6th 500 World Championship (Pileri Honda)
1996 - 10th 500 World Championship (Yamaha Team Rainey)
1997 - 6th 250 World Championship (Aprilia)
1998 - 250 World Champion (Aprilia)
1999 - 3rd 250 World Championship (Honda)
2000 - 7th 500 World Championship (Honda)
2001 - 3rd 500 World Championship (Honda)
2002 - 8th MotoGP World Championship (Honda)
2003 - 4th MotoGP World Championship (Ducati)