MotoGP: Marlboro Ducati Laguna Seca preview

Team press release issued before Laguna Seca

The Ducati Team comes to the United States leading all three MotoGP World Championships despite a race of contrasting fortunes in Germany last weekend. Loris Capirossi scored a brilliant second place while series leader Casey Stoner finished fifth to retain his points lead, to keep the Italian squad ahead in the constructors' championship and the team's championship.

Both Stoner and Capirossi are looking forward to Laguna Seca, a real rodeo ride of a racetrack that crisscrosses the undulating Californian countryside, providing a unique challenge for men and machines. MotoGP takes a well-deserved break after Laguna, the sport's sixth race in just eight weekends. The next GP takes place in the Czech Republic on August 19th.

Livio Suppo, Ducati MotoGP project director

"It's good to go racing again so soon after Germany and we are still leading all three championships, despite a bit of a difficult race at the Sachsenring for Casey. Laguna Seca was tough for us last year but everything is different this year, including the track surface, so we will have to wait and see what that's like. Casey and Loris both like the track and it's got less long corners than the Sachsenring, so it's not so hard on tyres."

Casey Stoner, World Championship leader on 196 points

"After last weekend we'll be working hard to come back at Laguna. It's refreshing to go there because it's a really different racetrack. Like they say, it hasn't been designed by some guy with a computer, it flows with the land and it's really tricky with ups and downs.

"The track can get a little bit dusty, so the grip's not always the best but I quite enjoy that sometimes. I like the whole atmosphere of the American GP, I was very impressed with the American fans last year, they were very supportive to everyone, they're there to have a good time. I think there will be a lot of bikes that can run quick at Laguna and I'm sure the Ducati will perform fine because it's been able to do that at every track so far this year.

"After Laguna we finally get to go back home to Australia, which is great. Adriana and I were going to have a little holiday in America but we figured we've been away from Australia for a long time, so we are due a trip home. During the break I'm going to start training to get myself ready for the last seven races."

Loris Capirossi, 8th overall on 77 points

"I think we have found a good direction with my revised engine spec and different weight distribution. This latest spec engine gives me a really good feeling, it's nice and progressive, which is good for my riding style. At Laguna we plan to start with both bikes using the same set-up we ran in Germany.

"Laguna was our worst track last year and the year before, but the situation is very different now - the bike is better and the tyres are much better, so I'm quite confident. Laguna is an amazing track with one of the best layouts. You need a well-balanced bike and a good front end to go fast there, so the new base set-up we used in Germany, with more weight on the front, should be good.

"After this race I go home to Monaco and do nothing, really nothing, except that Ingrid and I plan to have our son Riccardo (born on April 3) christened. He has changed our lives completely, for the better, I love being a dad. We are very lucky, he is a great kid and sleeps all night!"

The Track

Laguna Seca is a spectacular circuit, twisting this way and that across rolling Californian countryside. It is best known for its infamous Corkscrew section, a tight left-right chicane on a steep hillside. In fact the entire circuit is a bit of a rollercoaster, starting with Turn One, an ultra-quick lefthander over a brow that is one of MotoGP's greatest tests of bravery.

The infield section (completed in the late 1980s to bring the track up to GP spec) is relatively straightforward, then the fun starts again as riders tackle the high-speed run up to the Corkscrew, then plunge downhill to the finish line. Laguna's many downhill corners make front-tyre performance particularly crucial, since riders need extra confidence to attack off-camber turns. Machines need to be particularly well balanced for this circuit.

Laguna hosted six GPs between 1988 and 1994, then slipped off the calendar. The track underwent major safety revisions before its next GP in 2005 and has recently been resurfaced.

Laguna Seca data

Lap record: Dani Pedrosa (Honda), 1m 23.333, 155.953km/h-96.906mph (2006)

Pole position 2006: Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki), 1m 23.168s

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