In 2003 Loris Capirossi joined Ducati, taking their first win at Barcelona and fourth overall in the championship, before a slightly disappointing 2004 season on a bike with huge straight line speed but a lack of grip. He stayed in the team for the 2005 season, which saw him become competitive by the end of the year, taking two victories in Japan and Malaysia, aided by improving Bridgestone tyres.
Capirossi and Ducati started the 2006 season with a striking victory at Jerez, and he placed second in both the French and Italian Grands Prix, tying for first in the Moto GP standings with American Nicky Hayden. However, he was caught up in a multiple bike collision at the start in Barcelona, missing the restart and losing championship ground to Hayden. Though he was knocked out in this horrendous looking accident, he did not suffer serious injuries beyond significant bruising. He returned for the next round, but a run of less competitive results saw him slip to fifth in the standings before the race at Brno. He started second, took the lead at the start, and pulled away from the field for an easy victory. He attributed this to a late setup change that the team believed could be applied to the bike at all circuits. He moved up in the championship standings to finish third overall, after taking second at the final race behind stand-in teammate Troy Bayliss.