MotoGP: Suzuki delighted at Loris Capirossi’s impressive start

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Suzuki boss Paul Denning has said Loris Capirossi’s impressive GSV-R debut in Valencia earlier this week fully justified the signing of the veteran Italian.

Loris Capirossi joined Suzuki to replace John Hopkins despite a nightmare 2007 season which saw him hammered by factory Ducati team-mate Casey Stoner.

But the triple world champion was immediately up to speed on the 2007 GSV-R, with Suzuki resisting the temptation to let him run a few evaluation laps on the 2008 prototype machine Chris Vermeulen and test rider Nobuatsu Aoki rode in Valencia.

Loris Capirossi clocked a best time of 1.33.163 in Spain, which was faster than he managed in his last race on board the Ducati GP7.

And Paul Denning told MCN: “I don’t think he slept the night before the test and he was like a coiled spring. I didn’t think for a minute that we wouldn’t have a rider that wasn’t 100 per cent committed.

“I genuinely didn’t need anything confirming and I don’t think anybody at Suzuki did either. He’s just got too much experience and he’s too good to not do reasonably well.

“I don’t think one season of not performing to full potential means that he’s not able to comeback to a much better level again. For us it was exciting, but I got confirmed my real thoughts that he is not taken this ride because he wants the money and he just wants to stay in the paddock because he’s got nothing better to do with his life.

“He is genuinely excited about trying to be as competitive as possible and try and challenge again for the world championship. No more than 12 months ago that was where he was – fighting for the title.

“We suspected that the chassis package would be a reasonably good match for his riding style and it was nice moment when after only two laps it said 33 on the stopwatch.

“It was a good start and good progression and lots of good information, some which was very similar to John (Hopkins) and Chris (Vermeulen) and some that were new ideas. We’ll see at the first GP of next year whether it was a good start.”

Loris Capirossi only rode the 2007 GSV-R in Valencia, but Paul Denning confirmed he will have one 2008 bike available in Sepang next week. The new bike though still doesn’t feature next yeat’s V4 engine, with testing still continuing in Japan.

“He just rode the 2007 machine because we really just want to understand the riding style requirement and the comments before we go into anything else.

“I think the rider needs to understand what was there in order to understand if anything is better or worse that we might try in the future,” added Denning.

Denning also said the characteristics of the Suzuki suited Loris Capirossi’s style. The Italian has always said he believed the Suzuki would match his aggressive riding style better than the Ducati he struggled on in 2007, after he spent time pursuing John Hopkins and Chris Vermeuelen at various different times during the season.

Asked what characteristics had helped Loris Capirossi immediately gel with the GSV-R, Paul Denning said: “Turning. Physically he’s not the biggest guy and I think our bike turns in a very natural way.

“John rides really aggressively on the front end and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose the front, so there is a lot of confidence in the front of the bike and it’s turning.

“For Loris’s style I guess that’s important. I think he expected that but he was pleasantly surprised on the engine as well. He was happy that the performance was good enough.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt