Ducati Marlboro Team riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi finished MotoGP’s 990cc era in awesome style at Valencia yesterday, storming to a dominant one-two finish in front of a capacity crowd of 129,000 noisy fans.
Ducati’s recently crowned World Superbike champion led from start to finish in a one-off ride replacing the injured Sete Gibernau, while Capirossi came through from third on the first lap to shadow his team-mate to the flag. Along the way Capirossi smashed the lap record, secured the team’s first one-two MotoGP finish and took third overall in the World Championship, the Ducati Marlboro Team’s best finish in the MotoGP riders’ series.
The race was a perfect end to the 990cc Desmosedici project that started so well at Suzuka 2003, where Capirossi scored a podium result first time out. Bayliss’ brilliant win brings the team’s total of MotoGP wins to seven, the other six won by Capirossi in 2003, 2005 and at this year’s Spanish, Czech and Japanese GPs.
During its four seasons in MotoGP the Ducati Marlboro Team has also scored a total of 27 podiums, nine pole positions and eight fastest laps. Next year MotoGP switches to 800cc engines.
Troy Bayliss, Ducati Marlboro Team, race winner, 19th overall, 25 points
"Honestly, it’s been a fairytale weekend, I’m still pinching myself. I’ve had a great year, winning the World Superbike championship was a good start! Then just when I was kicking back I got a phone call asking if I was interested in doing this ride. It was something I couldn’t knock back because I started the Desmosedici project with Loris at the end of 2002 and had some great times in 2003 and 2004, so to be able to come back and finish off the story at the last 990 race was incredible. I brought a few guys with me- Paolo Ciabatti, Davide Tardozzi and Ernesto Marinelli - and together with my old squad from 2004 we took it step by step and really enjoyed the weekend. Thanks to everybody because this will be my last ride in MotoGP, I’ve had some great times but I’m really comfortable where I am and this is probably best left to the young guys. To take a win is incredible - I’ve showed I can still ride around in circles pretty fast."
Loris Capirossi, Ducati Marlboro Team, 2nd, 3rd overall, 229 points
"This has been an incredible season, one of the best, with many different race winners and a lot of nice fighting. This weekend started really well, Friday and Saturday were very good and today was pretty good. My start wasn’t so great, some guys overtook me. Anyway, I got past them and tried to follow Troy, but he rode really, really well today. My pit board told me that second was good enough for third in the championship but it would have been difficult to beat him. I am really happy with third overall and we are only 23 points behind the champion. I have had some bad moments this season but all year my team did a really great job, so my thanks to them because my bikes were always so good and I never made any mistakes. Now we are ready to put all our focus into next year. We start testing the 800 again in a few days and we know the bike is already not so bad. We also believe a lot in Bridgestone’s power, sometimes the tyres weren’t perfect but sometime they were really good. Congratulations to Troy. When I saw how fast he was on Friday I said ?wow, this is a good talent, a good guy!’."
Federico Minoli, president and CEO Ducati Motor Holding
"This day will go down in Ducati’s history. This is the first time we have had a one-two finish in MotoGP, the first time we have won the first and last races of the season and our best-ever championship finish. It’s a great end to the year, a good omen for 2007, great for team morale and very important for our technical partners Bridgestone and Shell Advance and all our sponsors."