Loris Capirossi

Capirossi, Sepang MotoGP tests, 4th-5th February, 2009.
Country: 
Italy
Birth Date: 
3 April, 1973

Loris Capirossi Biography

Loris Capirossi claimed his place in history by becoming the first Ducati rider to win a MotoGP race, in the factory's debut 2003 season and continued to lead the factory's grand prix challenge until the arrival of a cetain Casey Stoner in 2007.

Capirossi -  a rare race winner in 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP - held the record for most grand prix starts when he retired, but his tally of 328, from 1990-2011, was subsequently beaten by Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso.

Capirossi made an instant impact by winning the 125cc world championship as a rookie in 1990, then sucesfully defended the crown the following year.

The 250cc title proved harder to crack and, after four attempts and title runner-up in 1993, again with Honda, he made his first entry into the premier 500cc class with Wayne Rainey's Yamaha team for 1996.

Despite a victory in his rookie season, plus a further podium, Capirossi returned to 250cc the following year as a factory Aprilia rider. The #65 finally won the title in 1998, but only after a controversial clash with team-mate and championship rival Tetsuya Harada at the final turn of the Argentine showdown.

Harada fell, Valentino Rossi won the race but Capriossi was world champion with second. He was released by Aprilia over the winter and returned to Honda (with the Gresini team) for the 1999 season, adding his final 3 wins in the quarter-litre class.

Capirossi then returned to 500cc with Honda Pons, claiiming an emotional home mugello victory on his way to seventh in the world championship.

Remaining at Pons for 2001, the last ever 500cc season, Capirossi scored nine podiums and finishing behind only countrymen Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi inthe final standings, Italian fans being spoilt for choice when it came to home heroes at the front of the premier-class.

With only the factory Repsol Honda team having the new RC211V four-stroke for the start of the new MotoGP era in 2002, Capirossi and Honda Pons team-mate Alex Barros were left flying the two-stroke flag. But it was an increasingly uneven battle and, frustrated at being left on the old bikes (Barros got an RCV for the final rounds), Capirossi signed to spearhead Ducati's new MotoGP project for 2003. 

Determined to take the fight to Honda, then dominating the premier-class, Capirossi fired a warning shot by leading during the Italian factory’s very first race at Suzuka, on his way to third place. A historic first victory for the team at round six (Catalunya) made Capirossi the only non-Honda rider to win that season, when he also claimed five other podiums to end the year as the top non-RCV rider in fourth.

Capirossi and Troy Bayliss both remained with Ducati for 2004, but the team suffered a tough second season in which the GP4 struggled to keep pace with the leading Yamahas and Hondas. Capirossi salvaged one third place finish on his way to ninth in the championship.

An inspired early switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres during the winter resulted in some tough early 2005 rounds for Ducati, but - once the Japanese rubber was understood - the move paid dividends with back-to-back wins for Capirossi at Japan and Malaysia (plus three pole positions in a row) before internal injuries during a practice accident at Phillip Island brought his run of form to a sudden end. The #65 returned for the season finale and finished sixth in the championship standings.

Capirossi, Ducati and Bridgestone came out firing in 2006 with pole and victory in the Jerez season opener, and Capirossi was back on top of the world championship standings after finishing second in his home Italian Grand Prix, round six of 17.

However, disaster struck next time out when he and team-mate Sete Gibernau collided after the start in Catalunya - hospitalising them both. Capirossi bravely tried to race on at the following rounds, but lost substantial points and it took five races before he returned to the podium, with his second victory of the year at Brno.

The unpredictable nature of the 2006 season, in which the likes of Marco Melandri and Valentino Rossi were also injured, meant Capirossi’s continued to have a slim fighting chance of the title, until he struggled to seventh in the rain at Phillip Island, round 14 of 17. Nevertheless, Capirossi underlined what might have been - had he not been injured - by winning one further race and finishing the season third in the championship, behind Nicky Hayden and Rossi.

Ducati used the switch to 800cc racing for 2007 to gain a performance advantage over its Japanese rivals, but the Desmosedici GP7 proved difficult for all but new factory signing Casey Stoner to exploit. The young Australian charged to ten victories and Ducati’s first world title, while Capirossi claimed only one win, in the wet/dry Japanese Grand Prix, and finished seventh in the points.

Marco Melandri was announced as Capirossi's 2008 replacement as early as Laguna Seca, just before the summer break, but a fired-up Capirossi rubbished retirement talk and, after being courted by both Kawasaki and Suzuki, signed to ride for Paul Denning's team.

Capirossi arrived at Suzuki in 2008 eager to prove that Ducati’s decision to drop their long time team leader was the wrong one.

In one sense Melandri’s nightmare year on the Desmosedici proved Capirossi’s case, but Loris himself only had one 2008 podium to celebrate as the GSV-R often proved uncompetitive against its leading rivals. The Italian also missed Donington Park and Assen due to injury, leading to tenth place in the world championship standings, two places behind team-mate Chris Vermeulen.

Capirossi’s seat looked under threat from AMA champion Ben Spies but Suzuki opted to retain the determined former 125 and 250cc world champion for 2009, believing that his immense knowledge could help get the GSV-R project back on track.

Against expectation, the Suzuki took a further step back in 2009 relative to its rivals, and although Capirossi finished the season one place higher than in 2008 - ninth - and this time beat Vermeulen, the temperature sensitive GSV-R didn’t claim a single podium.

While Vermeulen was replaced by Bautista, Capirossi was retained for 2010, when the Italian made his 300th grand prix start and continued his (ultimately unsuccessful) quest for a 100th podium, being forced to settle for a best finish of seventh that season.

Capirossi then returned to Ducati for what would be his final MotoGP campaign in 2011, this time as a Satelitte rider at Pramac, but was unable to pick up where he left off in 2007 and managed a best of ninth place.

Following young countrman Marco Simoncelli's death at the penultimate Sepang round, Capirossi rode with the #58 during his final grand prix apperance at Valencia.

Capirossi now works as Dorna's representative in Race Direction.

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