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Loris Capirossi profile

By Dan Moakes
August 25 2006

Loris Capirossi
nationality · Italian
born · 4 April 1973
grand prix début · 1990

“Capirex” is one of the sport’s all round competitors, with wins in the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and 990cc GP classes, and three World Championship titles - two whilst still a teenager. Perhaps there was a time when he was a bit erratic, and with some of his successes earned in slightly dubious circumstances, but those days are long past. He has since become a more rounded performer, with a big talent and no lack of determination. All that is missing now is a Grand Prix title in the top class, and since joining Ducati there have been enough signs to suggest that this will follow.

Began riding dirt bikes

Made moto cross competition début

Made road racing début; 6th in Italian 125cc Production championship, with a Honda NS

9th in Italian 125cc championship, with a Mancini

4th in European 125cc championship, with a private Honda; three race wins

1990 AGV Pileri Corse, Honda
Loris made his World Championship début at 125cc level, and in his first full season of Grands Prix he took his first title aged only seventeen. He finished in the top six on ten occasions, eight of them on the podium, and took wins in Britain, Hungary and Australia. The massed Italian contingent helped him out in the final round, but it was still an impressive achievement, with 182 points scored

Loris Capirossi 1991 - photo by Elliot L Doering
photo by Elliot L Doering ·

1991 AGV-Pileri Corse, number 1 Honda
His second season was even better, and saw him defend the 125 title fairly comfortably. He was only once off the front row of the grid, and had five pole positions, as well as four fastest laps. From thirteen rounds, he was on the rostrum for twelve, and finished sixth in the other. He came second five times, and was a winner in Australia, Malaysia, and three European venues. Of his 225 points, 200 of them counted, and were plenty enough to help him move up to the 250s

1992 Marlboro Team Pileri, number 6 Honda
For his first season in the quarter litre series, Capirossi rode a privateer Honda. Although it was to prove his least successful GP campaign, Loris learnt the ropes quite quickly, and qualified in the top eight a handful of times. He had a number of top ten results, and finished the year with a fifth place in South Africa. 27 points were enough for twelfth overall

Loris Capirossi 1993 - photo by Elliot L Doering
photo by Elliot L Doering ·

1993 Marlboro Team Pileri, number 65 Honda
The winning habit returned in 1993, along with a factory prepared motorbike. With three victories and four seconds, the Italian was actually leading the title chase ahead of the final event. Sadly for him, tyre problems hampered his race, and he had to settle for second overall, on 193 points, behind Tetsuya Harada

1994 Marlboro Team Pileri, number 2 Honda
It looked like he would make up for his disappointment in 1994. After ten rounds of the 250 series, Loris had four wins and four other podiums, and led the points table ahead of Tady Okada and Max Biaggi. Thereafter, Biaggi’s Aprilia charged ahead with two wins and two seconds, as two no-scores dropped Capirossi to third, on 199 points

Loris Capirossi 1995 - photo by Elliot L Doering
photo by Elliot L Doering ·

1995 Marlboro Team Pileri, number 65 Honda
After three years on 250s, Loris moved up to a 500cc machine in 1995, staying with the same team. For a learning year, it was another good one. He managed to qualify third or fourth on five occasions, and was finishing in the top six from the fourth race onwards. Fourths at Assen, Donington and Brno were followed up with a third place in Barcelona, and he took sixth overall with his 108 points

1996 Marlboro Yamaha Rainey, number 65 Yamaha
A switch to Yamaha resulted in an unsettled season, with several no-scores, and only five top six finshes. However, the best of these was a victory in Australia, and a score of 98 points was enough to finish tenth in the 500 championship

1997 Aprilia Racing Team, number 65 Aprilia
But a feeling of unfinished business saw him switch back to the 250 series, this time on an Aprilia twin. It was another up and down campaign, but with eight top five finishes. He was sixth overall, on 116 points, but with thirds at Mugello, Assen and Donington as his best results

1998 Aprilia Team, number 65 Aprilia
The 1998 season was a different matter, with Capirossi consistently competitive throughout. He was in the top five for twelve races, and on the podium in nine of them. He was just ahead of team-mate Harada as they arrived for the finale in Argentina. A determined Loris collided with the Japanese star at the close of the race, apparently knocking him off deliberately. The Italian was controversially awarded the championship, with 224 points, after his disqualification was later overturned, but was shown the door by Aprilia for his indiscretion

1999 Elf Axo Honda Gresini, number 1 Honda
A switch back to Honda brought plenty more podiums, with his tally of GP wins going up to 21 over the course of the season. However, the season was dominated by Valentino Rossi, and Loris dropped to third, behind Tohru Ukawa, thanks to four no-scores. He added 209 points for the year, taking his career total beyond 1500

2000 Emerson Honda Pons, number 65 Honda
After three years away, Capirossi returned to the 500 series for 2000, and proved his ability with eight front row starts on a year-old NSR. He secured a number of top six results, but the highlight was seeing off Rossi and Biaggi to win at home in Mugello. With other podiums in South Africa, the Netherlands and Australia, he finished in seventh position on 154 points

2001 West Honda Pons, number 65 Honda
He followed this up with his best year of 500 racing to date, starting from the front row thirteen times, including four poles. Once again, he was handicapped with year-old machinery, but provided the closest challenge to his two works-mounted compatriots. Nine times he was on the rostrum, but he was never better than runner-up. Nevertheless, Capirossi was an impressive third overall, and 210 points was only nine behind Biaggi on the Marlboro Yamaha

2002 West Honda Pons, number 65 Honda
For 2002, Loris had the best two-stroke bike in the field. Unfortunately, this left him trailing behind the impressive new 990cc four-strokes, and he was never in with a chance of a race win. He was the best qualifier among the 500cc ranks, and this got him onto the front row seven times. But he wasn’t helped by a major crash at Assen that put him out for the next two races. Despite all this, Capirossi finished third on two occasions, beating several four-strokes in Aida. He was eighth overall, on 109 points

2003 Ducati Marlboro Team, number 65 Ducati
After a number of years on second class machinery, it wasn’t too difficult for the Ducati team to persuade Loris to sign up to lead their assault with the new V4 GP bike. It is already looking like being a potent machine, and the team’s Superbike prowess is legendary

Loris Capirossi 2004 - photo by
photo by

2004 Ducati Marlboro Team, number 65 Ducati
Ducati’s 2004 performance was less encouraging than their first year, but Capirossi remained a consistent points scorer, and broke into the top six five times. His best result was third in Australia.

2005 Ducati Marlboro Team, number 65 Ducati
Loris continued with Ducati in 2005 and, together with the Bridgestone tyres, the combination came good in the heat of the late summer. This meant second place in Brno, with wins at the next two races, and three poles in a row. Unfortunately, he was then injured in a pretty big practice crash at the Australian round, dropping to sixth overall after missing two races. Scored 157 points

2006 Ducati Marlboro Team, number 65 Ducati
Capirossi continues to lead the Ducati challenge in the last year of the 990cc Desmosedici

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