Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
MotoGP tees off with charity day at Valencia

The MotoGP World Championship paddock was boosted by the arrival of several
thousand fans as well as the return of a host of injured riders today as the
traditional Day of Champions welcomed the series to Valencia on the eve of the
final Grand Prix of the season. Whilst the first free practice session for the
Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana gets underway on Friday
morning, the Riders for Health charity was the main beneficiary of the intense
passion for MotoGP in this part of the world today, with a host of events,
including a pit-lane visit, stunt show and auction, raising crucial funds for
ongoing medical relief projects in Africa.

Whilst the majority of MotoGP riders had already got the fund-raising underway
with a charity golf tournament yesterday, for Loris Capirossi and Alex Hofmann
the main challenge is to get their racing season back into full swing as they
make timely returns from injury. Capirossi missed the last round in Turkey after
damaging his chest and lungs in a free practice crash at Phillip Island but he
was given the all-clear by MotoGP's Doctor Claudio Costa after a CT scan at
Imola Hospital last Saturday. The Italian was determined to return to the Ducati
fold this weekend and even a motorhome fire on his way through France did not
stop him.

"I'm really happy to be able to return to racing," said Capirossi, who had taken
two wins, three pole positions and one second-place finish from the previous
four races before his misfortune in Australia. "It was tough to watch the racing
and qualifying in Turkey from home, especially since the decision was forced
upon me by my physical condition. I still can't fly so I have travelled here in
my motorhome. Unfortunately we had an engine problem near St. Tropez and the
whole motorhome was destroyed by the fire but my desire to race is so great that
I would have walked all the way to Valencia if I had to!"

Hofmann had sixteen screws and two plates inserted to correct eight fractures to
his left ankle and foot following a crash at Motegi in September. Over the past
six weeks the German has undergone an intense programme of rehabilitation and
physiotherapy - between four and six hours per day - in a bid to be fit for
Valencia, where he will make his final appearance for Kawasaki before being
replaced by Randy de Puniet next season. "I can't wait to be back, I have
watched far too many races on TV this season," said Hofmann, who will race
alongside regular team-mate Shinya Nakano and wildcard entry Olivier Jacque. "I
reckon I've got more screws in my ankle than the mechanics have in their
toolboxes! The Motegi crash was the worst I've had in terms of injuries, but
that is behind me. I want a positive finish to the season in my final race with

Ryuichi Kiyonari becomes the fourth rider to replace the injured Troy Bayliss
for Honda, making his return to MotoGP from the British Superbike series, where
he has won twelve races this season. Bayliss' replacement for the last two
rounds, Chris Vermeulen, will be one of an estimated 120,000 crowd watching from
the grandstands on Sunday although the Australian is likely to get his chance on
track next week. Vermeulen is expected to complete his first laps on the GSV-R
machine after being confirmed as a full-time MotoGP rider for 2006 with Suzuki.
The 23-year-old will take the place of former World Champion Kenny Roberts, who
is currently injured and will be replaced this weekend by factory test rider
Nobuatsu Aoki.

250cc World Champion Dani Pedrosa will contest his final Grand Prix in the class
before stepping up to MotoGP in front of a passionate home crowd, who will also
be supporting the likes of Jorge Lorenzo and Hector Barbera. Pedrosa has been
the centre of attention since returning to Spain from Turkey last week with the
title under his arm and he is expecting a big reception on Sunday. "Since I got
back from Turkey I have been receiving constant messages of support and
congratulations from everybody," said Pedrosa. "It has been a tough and
stressful end to the season and when you are so focused on things you don't
realise what you have achieved or the support you have been getting until you
come home and see it for yourself. I can just imagine what Valencia will be like
this weekend!"

Thomas Luthi needs just three points to win the 125cc World Championship
regardless of Mika Kallio's result after a close battle between the pair took a
dramatic twist when the Finnish rider crashed on the final lap of the last
round. "Everybody in the team knows exactly what we have to do in Valencia,"
said Luthi. "We will prepare for the race in just the same way as we have for
all the others. I normally prefer fast tracks - Valencia is different - but I
still like racing here. The most important thing for us is to keep a cool head
during practice and qualifying. If we do that we will be okay."

INFO 2005/172. 3-11-2005