Three Grand Prix Championships, twenty-nine race victories, forty-one pole positions, and ninety-nine GP podiums, there is no denying the fact that Loris Capirossi has had an illustrious career in GP racing. Finally confirming what’s been hinted at all season long, Capirossi tearfully spoke at today’s pre-race press conference, as the 38-year-old announced that 2011 would be his last season racing motorcycles. Electing not to ride in World Superbike or continue in MotoGP on a CRT machine, this weekend’s race, the 325th for Capirossi, will be the last time the legendary Italian rider will race in front of a home crowd.
Making the announcement in the presence of past-Ducati teammate Casey Stoner and fellow Italian Champion Valentino Rossi, CapiRex said “it is difficult for me to say this after 22 seasons, but this for sure is my last race in Italy, because I decide to retire at the end of the season. When I do the last race in Valencia, racing for me will stop. I won’t go to a different championship and I will stop racing completely.
“It is strange to listen to many riders talking about testing new bike,s and I won’t ever do that,” the Italian continued. “I am happy with myself because this is the right time to retire. I am 100% sure this is the correct decision.”
Having his best premier-class seasons with Ducati, Capirossi will finish his career with the Italian brand, though likely not under the conditions he would have preferred. Sitting 16th in the Championship standings, Capirossi is only buoyed above the last place position by his teammate Randy de Puniet, as both Pramac Ducati riders have struggled with the Ducati Desmosedici GP11 and its vague front-end this season.
Always a friendly and pleasurable person to talk to in the GP paddock, we think most GP fans will favor remembering Capirossi’s epic battles with Max Biaggi, instead of his more recent rides with Ducati and Suzuki. We’re sure this weekend’s San Marino GP will be an emotional one for the Italian rider and his fans, as will his career-closing race in Valencia.
Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved