Loris Capirossi has announced he will retire at the end of the 2011 MotoGP world championship during an emotional press conference at the Misano circuit. The 38-year-old said he had decided to call time on the longest Grand Prix career history despite having offers to race a private 1000ccc bike and to switch to World Superbikes.
“It is difficult for me to say this after 22 seasons but this for sure is my last race in Italy because I decide to retire at the end of the season. When I do the last race in Valencia, racing for me will stop. I won’t go to a different championship and I will stop racing completely. It is strange to listen to many riders talking about testing new bikes and I won’t ever do that. I have been thinking a lot about stopping and I’ve kept saying yes and no, but I’m sure I’ve made the right decision. Sometimes you have to take the most difficult decision to stop. Sure to reach that decision is not easy, especially for me because I have a plan to ride the 1000 bike again next year. But during this season it has been really tough and always I’m looking at the future and to have a competitive bike is always more difficult. There are a lot of young riders coming really strong and I looked at myself and decided that this was the best time to stop. I started to ride when I was only four and now I am 38, and I do 22 seasons in Grand Prix, so all my life I have been in bikes. Now I’ve got the rest of my life in front of me to think about what I do. I am happy with myself because this is the right time to retire. I am 100 per cent sure this is the correct decision. When you stop but you don’t want to then this is pretty bad, but I had a couple of offers to ride the CRT bike but it is not my dream to ride that kind of bike. I had an opportunity to ride a good bike in World Superbikes also. I didn’t decide to stop because I didn’t have the opportunity.”
Capirossi won 29 races including nine in MotoGP and he won two 125GP and one 250GP title. Talking about his best memories Capirossi said: “There are lots of nice and beautiful memories. My first title in 1990 with 125s, my first victory with the 500 in Mugello and my first victory with Ducati were great moment.”
Capirossi also joked while sitting alongside Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Ben Spies that he wanted some help from them to achieve his 100th career podium in the final six races.”
He added: “I want to ask these guys to help me a lot to get my 100th podium.”
Capirossi is the longest-serving rider in Grand Prix history with 2011 being his 22nd season. He made his 325th start in Sunday’s 28-lap race, having won 29 races. The 38-year-old is a close pal of Italian legend Rossi, having raced together since 1998 in 250s and MotoGP. Rossi and Stoner would both go on to pay tribute to Capirossi.
Rossi said: “I have a lot of memories of Loris, the first ones were from the TV. I remember when he won his first race in 125s in Suzuka and also I was a great, great fan of Loris when he was against (Max) Biaggi (laughs). After I fought with him a lot in MotoGP and we had a lot of great fights to the last lap. What I remember were the fights for the 250 title in 1999 and also a lot of battles on the Honda in 500s. But I think what the best memories are with the 1000 in 2006 Mugello and Sepang when I fight with Loris on the last lap and had a great battle until the last braking. I think we are losing one of the best riders of this sport.”