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Suppo confident of Ducati progress

Suppo confident of Ducati progress

Suppo confident of Ducati progress

With their MotoGP honeymoon now well and truly over after accumulating just 30 points between their two riders in the first three rounds of the 2004 season, the Ducati Marlboro Team are confident that their home round at Mugello can inspire a change of fortune and a fresh surge of progress with development of their radical new Desmosedici GP4 machine.

Team Manager Livio Suppo enjoyed a dream first season at the head of the Italian factory's exciting new Grand Prix project in 2003 but has endured leaner times so far this season, with both Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss struggling to come to terms with the new bike since its launch in early February.

However, despite reverting briefly to the 2003 machines in tests at Le Mans last week, Suppo says that he still believes firmly in the '04 project and insists much more is to come from his bikes and riders – starting in Italy.

"2003 was such an amazing season for Ducati that everybody thought it was so easy, even if it was a learning season, that everything was done," reflects Suppo.

"But as we said, it was a learning season, we are younger than the others and we have less experience than our competitors in this world, it's a process. We are still growing and the main goal is to keep going and to grow race after race."

"Last year's bike went on track in the middle of 2002, so when we started racing in 2003, the bike was already well developed. This season we did a big change of the bike, because last year we knew very well there were some good points and some weak points with last year's bike.

"So we tried to improve everything, but to do that because we are at the beginning, you have to change a lot, and we started the testing late in February. Then we have been also a little bit unlucky with the weather with a lot of rain. It was probably a bit longer than we thought, but we are confident and the riders are confident that we are going the right way.

"The main goal is to build up a very competitive bike everywhere. Last year's bike was very good in the fast tracks with the very fast corners, but not so good in the stop and go circuits.

"So the goal was to do a bike that is very good everywhere. It's not easy because you have to find a balance, and it's a very difficult balance to find. We have to work on it. That's good though, because you learn a lot about the bikes and that's good for Ducati.

"At the end of the day we race to sell bikes and to have a better know-how to build bikes for production. It's normal, it's racing."

"Mugello has something special, it's just a few kilometres from Bologna, and we have our grandstand with thousands of Ducatisti there. Of course everybody loves to race in Mugello, there's more pressure, especially for Loris in his home race but also for Troy, who has raced for Ducati for such a long time - it's a little bit more like a second home Grand Prix.

"So it's something special and we will hope to be there with the best luck and the best possibilities."

MotoGP, 2004

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