Loris Capirossi made his debut on the Desmosedeci MotoGP bike today as his Ducati Corse team began testing at Valencia.
It was the 29-year-old Italian’s first chance to ride a four-stroke and he put in 56 laps alongside factory teammate Troy Bayliss. He has been released early from his contract with the Honda Pons squad in order to take part in the tests.
Capirossi said: " Today’s a fantastic day for me – I finally get a chance to ride a four-stroke bike.
My first impressions are that it’s very good, the engine braking is completely different of course compared to the two-stroke, but I’ve only done a few laps.
" Ducati are working so hard on their MotoGP entry next year and this is a big dream for them and me. "
Capirossi’s best time around the 2.5-mile circuit was 1’35.8 compared to Bayliss’ 1.35.4.
Bayliss was focussed on comparative tests between the 16.5 " front wheel he used in WSB to the 17 " one used throughout MotoGP.
Bayliss said: " Every test we’ve ridden the bike we’ve made progress and already we’ve gone better than we did before.
" We’re certainly heading in the right direction. Mainly the power is different from the superbike and it’s 15kg (33lb) lighter. There are a few things similar, but it’s a new toy and we have a lot of things to learn.
" It’s quite different to ride, but I’m really enjoying it and I’m looking forward with confidence to next year. "
Ruben Xaus was also present at the test, rolling out the V-twin 999 World Superbike he’ll campign in 2003.
Xaus slotted a 1’36.0 as his best time, racking up a total of 66 laps.