Loris Capirossi, seen here during his days racing the factory Ducati, announced his retirement today after a 22-year career.
After 22 years of competing at the highest levels of motorcycle racing, Capirex is hanging up his leathers. MotoGP rider Loris Capirossi announced he will retire from competing in the World Championship at the conclusion of the 2011 season. The Ironman of motorcycle racing has competed in 324 Grand Prix races, more than any other rider.
It was an emotional farewell for the Italian rider who struggled to fight back tears as a room full of peers and press gave him a standing ovation during the press conference held prior to this weekend’s MotoGP round at Misano.
“It’s an important moment in my career and the decision I made has come about after a lot of reflection. 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. I must thank the many, many people who over the years have followed me, encouraged me, motivated me. That includes Team Pramac, who gave me my final opportunity to race a motorcycle. I’m sorry that I haven’t brought home good results this year, but I’m confident for the final part of the championship. Motegi, Phillip Island, and Sepang are my favorite tracks, and I’ve won many races there. It will be difficult to get my hundredth podium, but I’ll fight to the end. As for my future, I still don’t have clear ideas. The only sure thing is that I won’t be a racer anymore. In life, it’s not easy to make these decisions, especially after so many years. Still, I’m sure that my new life will be thrilling, just like the one before it was,” he said in the Pramac Racing Team announcement of his retirement.
Capirossi took the World Championship stage by storm in 1990 when he won the 125cc title on a Honda in his first attempt at just 17. He successfully defended his crown the following year and would add a 250cc World Champion title to his resume in 1998 competing on the Aprilia RS250. His best year in MotoGP was 2006 when he finished the season third aboard the factory Ducati racing for the Ducati Corse team.
Capirossi’s career hasn’t come without controversy. His move which took out teammate Tetsuya Harada on the last corner of the last lap of the last race which solidified the 1998 250cc title for him is still the subject of controversy in conversations around the water cooler. But he has also been hailed as a great teammate by Casey Stoner, the current leader in the MotoGP championship point race.
Valentino Rossi, a friend and long-time competitor of his countryman, said “I was a great fan of Loris when he was a rival of Biaggi!”
Capirossi jokingly pleaded for a little help from his other MotoGP competitors during the press conference, asking them to give him a little help winning an illustrious 100th podium position. Capirossi currently has 99 podiums to his credit.