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Old 19th November 2011, 20:30   #1
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Default #65 Capirossi retires from racing

Capirossi may be diminutive in stature like most GP racers, but he sure as hell is a lion on the track. To watch him close out his 20+ year career with Super Sic’s #58 was an emotional moment. His sentiments after Kato’s death were touching when he referred to entire GP paddock as one big family despite being bitter rivals on-track. A close compatriot of Rossi, he seemed to gel with most riders. Dorna has decided to retire #65 and to employ Capirex as an advisor for safety and regulation

Tetsuya Harada fans are likely to remember the incident when Capirex made an ambitious attempt to pass him on the final lap of the season finale to win the 250cc crown in 1998. Harada was forced off the track and Rossi ended up winning the race and Capirex coming in second. Capirex despite winning only 2 races compared to 5 each by Rossi and Harada was able to clinch his first and the only 250cc title. He did win 2 125cc titles. He competed in an era that spanned two decades and saw several Italian riders storm GP motorcycling including Cadalora, Romboni, Chili, Reggiani, Biaggi, and of course the Doctor.

I had an opportunity to take pictures with Capirex after his torrid Laguna race in 2006 that happened to be a ridiculously hot weekend. I stood in the line to get autographs from both Ducati Corse riders for well over two hours when Livio Suppo who was the team manager simply cut the line short and said “Sorry that’s it” – an action fully understandable – well, for me it was the worst heat I have experienced in my life accompanied by severe sun burns. Capirex apparently threw up in his helmet as he pulled into the pits during one of the pre-race sessions since it was too late for a perverse rendezvous with a bucket which can be a good friend during such trying times.

He accommodated my request to take a few pictures at a restaurant in Carmel on Sunday night where we were having dinner. We were seated a few rows across him. The chef talked to him at length [in Italian] to prepare something appropriate. I am shy when it comes to breaching personal and family privacy. But, my wife persuaded me to approach him and another lady across from our table said - if he says no, don’t take it as an offense. I walked over and said “hello Loris”, he smiled said hello and was forthcoming to spend a few minutes. He even wanted to make sure the snaps were ok. Bad lighting and a lousy camera meant several tries would only result in one so-so picture. As he left the restaurant he waved and several of us gave him a standing ovation. Most did not know who he was.

In 2002, Ducati announced their intent to compete in MotoGP and hired the former Honda Pons rider and Fedrico Minoli, then CEO of Ducati, proudly posed with Capirex. Bayliss having lost an epic battle to Edwards in World Superbike would be his team mate. He won the first MotoGP race for Ducati in their debut year at Catalunya and only on its 6th outing. It appeared as though Rossi was playing, but Capirex was having none of it. A last minute miscue by the doctor, and Capirex was well on his way to the checquered flag – a historic moment for the small Bolognese outfit.

Capirex’ best shot at the coveted MotoGP title came in 2006. Had he not been involved in the first corner melee at Valencia with his team mate Gibernau – who in my opinion was a pariah to the team devoid of his Spanish sponsorship connections. I don’t dislike the Catalan racer, but he was past his prime just like Checa whom he replaced. (Checa did impress the heck out of me with his WSBK title at a tender age of 42!! ) Capirex’s battle with Rossi in 2006 at Mugello aboard his Ducati in its Tricolore livery is worth watching if you have not seen it. The post race appreciation and respect for each other was a rare spectacle in what is otherwise a cut-throat sport.

Krishna
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#65 Capirossi retires from racing-montereytrip-009.jpg  


Last edited by ksanjee : 19th November 2011 at 20:32.
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Old 20th November 2011, 13:42   #2
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Default Re: #65 Capirossi retires from racing

This is a very well written tribute to the man. Most of us are aware of his exploits on track, but I don't think any of us knew about the personal side of Loris Capirossi. Thank you for sharing this.
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Old 21st November 2011, 01:51   #3
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Default Re: #65 Capirossi retires from racing

ksanjee,

Lovely post. Even though I don't follow GP racing these days, 'Luckless' Loris is one of the names from the time when I used to. Strangely, I was looking up Harada on Google yesterday and was wondering how many would still remember him and now I see a mention of him on Tbhp.

I guess GP racing is at a crossroads of sorts with the current problems with financing for the teams and lackluster racing. But I am glad Loris will stick around, would have been good to see him as team manager, something on the lines of an Emilio Alzamora.
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Old 21st November 2011, 11:18   #4
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Default Re: #65 Capirossi retires from racing

Ksanjee

Thank you for the post, brings back a lot of memories of the 90's when I did actually track the 125, 250 and 500 cc titles, Yep did follow the 1998 season and yes the post which brings our his personal side also brings back memories of the how much more human things seemed then. Of course all my favourites are in the short list mentioned by you and they didn't always win as I did prefer to back the underdog. Capirossi was one of them.
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Old 21st November 2011, 11:37   #5
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Default Re: #65 Capirossi retires from racing

I have always been a big fan of Loris. Like you said, his best chance of winning a MotoGP championship was in 2006 and we have to always wonder what would have happened if he didn't have that crash with his teammate.
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Old 23rd November 2011, 19:54   #6
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Default Re: #65 Capirossi retires from racing

@codelust:

I agree that GP motorcycle racing would need some changes. I feel CRT is definitely not it. Loris' role as an advisor to Dorna could be good.

To be honest, I miss the 2-stroke days and with 125s gone, I will only follow MotoGP. If I want 4st, I have WSBK. AMA has lost its charm with DMG takeover.

@ACM:

Yeah, the 125 with Raudies, 250 with Biaggi, and 500s with the greats (like Rainey, Lawson, Doohan and Gardner - oh I forgot Schwatz) was indeed a great era.

For the benefit of youngsters: Engineers/Mechanics used a screw driver in the past while GP10 warmed up by itself. Not saying we need to continue using the screw driver - just stating the contrast.

Krishna
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Old 1st December 2011, 21:04   #7
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Default Re: #65 Capirossi retires from racing

Finally found the pics of the duo signing autographs...
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