Capirossi: I don't mind losing a great race.
Ducati Marlboro's Loris Capirossi came back brilliantly from a sluggish start to take the lead with eight laps to go in Sunday's breathtaking Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
From there he fought a thrilling duel with compatriot Valentino Rossi, ending the race just 0.575 seconds down to retake the world championship lead, though equal on points with third-place finisher Nicky Hayden.
"I started so bad, and I had problems with the tyres because I had made the wrong choice. I had chosen quite hard tyres so I was a little bit quiet in the first few laps," explained Loris, who was just eighth at the end of lap one and remained in that position until lap five. "When my rhythm came good I started overtaking guys, though it wasn't easy because everyone was going so quick.
"The battle with Valentino and Nicky was great, we overtook each other many times but always in a correct manner, it's always so nice to ride with Valentino. I enjoy races like that even if I don't win!" he grinned. "On the last five laps I had a rear tyre problem, so I thought that I would ease off, wait and then fight for the last three laps. To win here at Mugello is the best, but today I'm happy with second.
"Everyone in the team made a really great job this weekend, so thanks to them all. Bridgestone are coming better and better, we're at a very high level now and I hope we can continue improving. Our season started so well and it continues to go well, now I want more of this!" he declared.
Capirossi and team-mate Gibernau - who was also a contender for much of the race - rode with a special livery on Sunday to celebrate Ducati's 80th birthday, the 60th anniversary of the company starting motorcycle production and the 50th anniversary of its first use of the desmodromic valve system.
"That was a great way to mark the three anniversaries we are celebrating this year," said Ducati CEO and president Federico Minoli. "We had a one-two on the grid and we were in the thick of the action for the race win. Loris rode like a lion, making an unbelievable comeback."