Loris Capirossi announced he will retire at the end of the 2011 MotoGP season, closing off a quarter century of racing including 22 years at the Grand Prix level and three World Championships.
“It’s an important moment in my career, and the decision I made has come about after a lot of reflection,” says Capriossi. “I’m happy that after 25 years, of which 22 were in the world championship, I’m at a point where I can still have a smile on my lips as I part ways, even if it’s difficult to think that I won’t be riding a bike next year.”
The announcement was made during a press conference at Misano for the upcoming San Marino Grand Prix, the final Italian stop of the 2011 season. An emotional Capirossi received a standing ovation from those in attendance.
“I must think the many, many people who over the years have followed me, encouraged me, motivated me,” says Capirossi. “That includes Team Pramac, who gave me my final opportunity to race a motorcycle.”
Capirossi made his Grand Prix racing debut in 1990, racing a Honda in the 125cc class. As a 17-year-old, Capirossi had 8 podium finishes in 14 rounds including wins in three of the final races of the season to win the 125cc World Championship in his rookie year. Capirossi would defend that title in 1991 before moving up to the 250cc class. After two years in the 500cc class, Capirossi returned to the 250cc class in 1998, winning another World Championship.
Capirex finished third in the 500cc/MotoGP class two times but never captured that elusive premiere class title. Over his Grand Prix career, Capirossi has ridden on Aprilias, Hondas, Ducatis, Suzukis and Yamahas.
This year, Capirossi sits 16th in the championship with the Pramac Ducati satellite team, but before he hangs up his leathers forever, he has one more goal in mind: to capture his 100th Grand Prix podium.
Turning to his fellow racers at the press conference, Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Ben Spies, Capirossi joked: “I also want to say to the guys to try and help me in the last few races because I have 99 podiums!”
Loris Capirossi after his previous victory in 2007 at Motegi with Ducati
Loris Capirossi after his 99th podium in 2008 at Brno with Suzuki
Loris Capirossi this August in Brno with Pramac