LORIS CAPIROSSI has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the season in an emotional press conference that saw the veteran receive a standing ovation from the assembled press.
Reduced to tears making the announcement Capirossi understood that this season was the right time to end his career. Loris began: “First of all I want to say this season for us is really tough, we haven’t found the best solution to go quicker. We have six more races and for both myself and the team I will try to do my best. I will try to get some good results.”
“It’s difficult for me to say this because after 22 seasons this will be my last race in Italy because I have decided to stop. It’s also strange to listen to the other riders talk about testing the new bikes, and I won’t do that.”
Looking at his MotoGP peers present at the conference - Rossi, Pedrosa, Stoner, Spies - the 38-year-old asked if they would help him get his 100th GP podium, not wanting to end with 99.
Looking back at Capirex's racing CV from a career that spanned 22-years his achievements in Grand Prix racing started in 1990, when at the time he became the youngest ever 125GP champion at 17 years old and he would go on to defend the number one honour the following year.
In 1998 Loris won the 250cc championship, which involved one of the most controversial racing incidents ever. Capirossi would take the championship away from Tetsuya Harada after making a desperate lunge to ensure his Aprilia team-mate did not finish.
One of the defining moments of Italian veteran's time in the premier class was taking Ducati to their very first race win in MotoGP and looking like a very serious title challenger in 2006. He achieved his 300th race start at the beginning of the 2010 season, finishing in ninth on the Rizla Suzuki.
Capirossi currently holds the record for all-time Grand Prix starts currently at 324 - which should increase by six at the close of the season at Valencia.