Loris Capirossi (born April 4, 1973) is an Italian Grand Prix motorcycle road racer, who currently rides for the factory Suzuki MotoGP team. He is a former 250cc World Champion for Aprilia.
Capirossi moved up to 250cc class for the 1992 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season on a year-old bike. He led the championship in both 1993 and 1994 without winning it.
The 1995 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season was Capirossi's first season in the top-level 500cc championship, aboard a Pileri Honda, often qualifying better than he raced but still taking 6th in the series, before taking a win in 1996 for Wayne Rainey's Yamaha team.
Return to 250cc
Capirossi returned to 250cc championship for 1997, battling his Aprilia team-mate, Tetsuya Harada down to the final race of the 1998 season when the two riders were involved in a controversial incident in Argentina. Harada was leading the race into the final corner of the final lap when Harada's bike was rammed from behind by Capirossi's machine, sending the Japanese rider off the track. Valentino Rossi would pass both riders for the victory. Capirossi recovered to claim second place and the world championship but, Aprilia would release him during the off-season.
Capirossi returned to the 500cc championship for 2000, and has been there through its evolution to today's 800cc four-stroke MotoGP bikes. He won his home race in 2000, and 3 more en route to 3rd overall in 2001. 2002 was a less competitive year, hampered by a wrist injury. He was not given access to Honda's 4-stroke machine in late 2002 when team-mate Alex Barros was, as he was already to leave the team.
In 2003 he joined Ducati, taking their first win at Barcelona and 4th overall, before a slightly disappointing 2004 on a bike with huge straight line speed but a lack of grip. Still, he stayed on the bike more often than team-mate Troy Bayliss, and thus stayed in the team for a 2005 season which saw him become competitive by the end of the year, aided by improving Bridgestone tyres.
Capirossi at the 2005 Malaysian Grand Prix with Ducati (2003-2007).Capirossi and Ducati started the 2006 season with a striking victory and he had a second place in both the French and Italian grand prix, tying for first in Moto GP points with American Nicky Hayden. However, he was caught up in a multiple bike collision at the start at Barcelona, missing the restart and losing championship ground to Hayden. Though he was knocked out in this horrendous looking accident, he did not suffer very serious injuries beyond significant bruising. He returned for the next round, but a run of less competitive results saw him slip to 5th in the standings before the race at Brno. In this race he started 2nd, took the lead at the start, and pulled away from the field for an easy victory. He attributed this to a late setup change the team believe can be applied to the bike at all circuits. He moved up in the championship standings to finish 3rd overall, after taking second at the final race behind stand-in team-mate Troy Bayliss.
2007 was not as strong a season for Capirossi. Immediately following the conclusion of the 2007 USGP race at Laguna Seca, Ducati announced the signing of Marco Melandri and the extension of Casey Stoner's contract for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. This left Capirossi without a firm position on the Marlboro Ducati team; the possibilities were mooted to be a third position on the factory team, or an option to manage a satellite team. Capirossi was not informed of the decision before the story was released to the press, much to his displeasure.
On 16 August 2007, Capirossi announced that he would ride with the Suzuki factory team in 2008, alongside Australian Chris Vermeulen.