The Ducati Marlboro Team is set to return to its original 2006 line-up at the German Grand Prix, with Sete Gibernau rejoining Loris Capirossi following a four-week layoff.
The Spaniard and the Italian were both injured in the same turn-one accident at the Catalan GP on June 18, Gibernau suffering a broken left collarbone, Capirossi sustaining chest injuries. Unluckily, the Catalunya event was the first of three races on consecutive weekends, and although Capirossi was able to race at the subsequent Dutch and British GPs, albeit in a weakened state, Gibernau's injury required surgery and several weeks' recuperation.
This morning's (Monday, 10 July) final medical examination, however, confirmed that Sete has healed well and, consequently, gave the final "green light" to the Spanish rider, who is looking forward to getting back on his Ducati.
Both riders hope to be close to 100 per cent fit for the Sachsenring, which immediately precedes the US GP on July 23.
Loris Capirossi, Ducati Marlboro Team rider, 5th overall (107 points);
"I hope to be 80 to 90 per cent fit for the race at Sachsenring. I don't think I will be 100 per cent fit because my doctors told me I would need 30 to 35 days from the accident to fully recover. The problem is that the injury is internal, so it's impossible to work on it effectively and it doesn't really respond to pain-killing therapies. I am looking forward to being able to ride properly once again.
"The first part of the Sachsenring is just too tight and too slow for a MotoGP bike, I think that part is better suited to go-karts! But the second part, from turn six or seven, all the way to the finish can be quite interesting. Turn 12 is really tough, a very exciting corner, because you come out of turn 11 in third, shift to fourth, then fifth and throw the bike into Turn 12 at over 200 kays. This corner is blind, then it's steep downhill and you get sixth gear on the run to turn 13."
"I am really looking forward to returning to action! The shoulder is recovering well and I have been working to get fit as fast as possible. It is a pity that I've lost three races but now I just want to ride my Desmosedici again. I haven't watched the races on TV because I know that watching them would only make me feel really mad about not being there but I have been in constant contact with my team. I want to thank the team, the Dexeus hospital, especially Drs Mir and Ginebreda, and everyone else who has supported me because I have been looked after so well.
"Sachsenring won't be the most comfortable circuit to ride with a collarbone injury. It's physically demanding because it's tight and slow, that's why the 250s can do similar lap times to MotoGP bikes. Anyway, I like the circuit and it holds good memories because I won there in 2003 and got second last year after a great race. I hope that all will go okay this time and that my shoulder won't be too much of a problem."
Livio Suppo, Ducati MotoGP project manager;
"We are really looking forward to having Sete and Loris together again. We hope Loris will be close to 100 per cent fit for this race and we also hope that Sete will be strong enough for a good comeback. We were so unlucky to have both riders suffer injuries at one of the busiest points of the season. We must keep looking forward and keep working for the best-possible results."