Ben Spies is no stranger to MotoGP. He replaced the injured Loris Capirossi at the 2008 British GP and secured a 14th place finish. He went on to sample three more wild-card rides, scoring a brilliant eighth place finish at Laguna Seca and an even more impressive 6th at Indianapolis.
At last week’s first official test of the 2011 MotoGP season at Sepang, Loris Capirossi was 13th fastest aboard the Pramac Racing Ducati.
And although much work needs to be completed, the Italian says the GP11 has much potential for the 2011 MotoGP season.
156 - Following the Catalan Grand Prix, Valentino Rossi has made 156 Grand Prix starts in the premier-class, the same as Jack Findlay whose career spanned from 1958 to 1978. Only five riders have started more races in the premier-class: Alex Barros (245 premier-class starts), Carlos Checa (192), Loris Capirossi (177), Kenny Roberts Jnr (167) and Sete Gibernau (158)
Sete Gibernau will return to motorcycle racing action at the MotoGP in Catalunya next weekend, even though he will be at less than 100% fitness.
Podium finisher at the Montmeló track for three consecutive years between 2003 and 2005, Gibernau’s participation in the sixth round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship looked to be in doubt after he fractured his collarbone at the Grand Prix de France last month.
Chris Vermeulen looked good from the start of Friday’s MotoGP FP1 session in France and topped the leader-board during the early part of the outing. He appeared increasingly likely to better his best time of 1’36.301 – recorded during his 16 laps – but the weather intervened and he had to settle for fourth place.
Loris Capirossi was also making improvements and had just made several modifications to his bike – which he was sure would improve his ninth position – before he too was forced to head for shelter.
4th – Chris Vermeulen Speaks…
Troy Bayliss completed his first day of testing on board the Desmosedici GP9 at Mugello today alongside regular factory test rider Vittoriano Guareschi.
It was a first outing for the Australian on a MotoGP bike since the final round of 2006, when he followed up his second World Superbike title by competing in the final Grand Prix of the season at Valencia, scoring a sensational one-two for Ducati with victory ahead of his team-mate Loris Capirossi.
Three times a race winner at Motegi, and starting from the second row of the grid on Sunday, hopes were high for a Loris Capirossi podium in Japan — not least on the part of the rider himself. Seventh place and his first points of 2009 were of little consolation to the Rizla Suzuki man, who revealed after the race that his aspirations extended much further than a top ten finish.
18 years 328 days – The longest Grand Prix career between the first podium finish and the last which was achieved by Angel Nieto. The next time that Loris Capirossi finishes on the podium he will take this record from Nieto.
Vermeulen Assesses Losail, Qatar performance.
Some significant close season improvements on the GSV-R and some decent preseason test results saw Rizla Suzuki head to the championship-opening Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar in good spirits, but things did not go according to plan.
A DNF following a high speed crash for Loris Capirossi and seventh place for Chris Vermeulen meant the race itself was something of an anti-climax for the team and they will be hoping for a much better showing next time out in Japan.
Will Capirossi or Vermeulen get it done on the Suzuki?
Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen were regularly amongst the top riders at all of the 2009 tests, culminating with Capirossi recording the third quickest time at the final test in Spain last month, with teammate Vermeulen narrowly behind with the fifth fastest lap. Now both riders will be planning to continue with the good run of form that has seen the 2009 Suzuki GSV-R emerge as one of the most improved bikes of the year.