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Suppo: Ducati lineups to become clearer next week

Suppo: Ducati lineups to become clearer next week

Ducati could announce their factory and satellite riders for 2009 as early as next week, with Nicky Hayden, Sete Gibernau and Niccolo Canepa not being ruled out for roles.

Rumours abound as to who will be accompanying Casey Stoner in riding the Ducati Desmosedici next year and, whilst those names put forward have yet to be either confirmed or denied, the Italian factory are expecting decisions and announcements to be made in the coming week.

The factory team could see two MotoGP World Champions sharing the garage, with Nicky Hayden hotly tipped to be the prime candidate for the seat vacated by the outgoing Marco Melandri. Ducati MotoGP Project Manager Livio Suppo would not rule out the `Kentucky Kid´, and conceded that he was one of the riders being looked at for 2009.

`Of course (we have been looking at Hayden), there are a lot of rumours about this, but we will see next week,´ said Suppo, who was tight lipped about naming names for the vacant spots in both the factory and satellite Ducati outfits.

`Next week I think will also be the time to know the riders lineup for the second team (currently Alice Team). We will definitely be keeping Paolo Campinoti in charge.´

Prolonged speculation has surrounded a return to competition for Sete Gibernau, the former MotoGP World Championship runner-up who this year swung his leg over the Desmosedici GP8 and GP9 in testing at Mugello. Links with MotoGP Legend Angel Nieto and son Gelete have placed Gibernau on a fifth Ducati machine, sponsored by the Onde 2000 project that debuted in the 125cc category this year.

`We´re talking with the Nietos to set up a one-bike team, but it´s unfortunately also a little to early to talk about that,´ said Suppo, acknowledging the link between the Ducati MotoGP plans and the Spanish veteran. `We like Sete, and he´s done some tests this season in which he has proved to be very fast, so why not?´

Suppo also confirmed that Niccolo Canepa, currently testing the Desmosedici as part of the test team in-between wildcard superbike appearances, could possibly play a part in the 2009 season in some capacity.


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