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Mamola: `Gibernau could be key to Ducati-Hayden success´

Mamola: `Gibernau could be key to Ducati-Hayden success´

Former World Championship star Randy Mamola thinks Nicky Hayden´s fellow new arrival at Ducati, Sete Gibernau, could hold the key to the American´s success with the Italian factory.

Randy Mamola believes Nicky Hayden has a tough winter of adaptation ahead of him as the Kentucky Kid prepares for his first season with Ducati, even though it is widely expected that Hayden should make a smooth transition to riding the new Desmosedici 09.

In the short post-season Valencia test Hayden showed good initial signs with some decent lap times, in both the wet and dry onboard his new bike, but Mamola is sure that there is a long road ahead as his compatriot get used to the new machinery.

`A lot of people said his riding style would suit the Ducati because he likes a bike to be loose underneath him,´ stated Mamola is his regular Alpinestars column. `It seems people thought he could jump on the bike and go fast but personally I think he is going to have to change a few things. In fact, Nicky´s first comment when he got off the bike was: `Whatever they pay Casey (Stoner), it´s not enough.´ He knows it´s not easy and he has a lot of work to do.´

A paddock regular, Mamola knows a thing or two about the Italian factory himself, being the man who takes VIP guests around Grand Prix circuits across the globe on the (two-seater) Ducati MotoGP2, which laps within seconds of the pace of the regular 800cc MotoGP race prototypes.

`Basically the Desmosedici works by getting it to full throttle as soon as possible and letting the electronics do the rest,´ Mamola commented. `That´s easier said than done and so far only Casey has been able to do it consistently. The final turn at Valencia was the clearest example. Over the course of the weekend everybody had enjoyed seeing Nicky light the Honda up around that long left-hander but you only had to see him through there on the Monday to see that the Ducati doesn´t allow him to do it, because it has a much more narrow power band.´

The former World Championship rider, who finished runner-up in the 500cc category on four occasions, believes teamwork will be the key for Ducati in 2009 as they attempt to get four new riders lapping at similar speeds to 2007 World Champion Stoner.

49 year-old Mamola reckons the experience of returning hero Sete Gibernau may be crucial to the factory in striving for competitiveness across the board, adding, `Ducati do have a responsibility to make all their bikes easier to ride otherwise they´ll have four riders struggling next season instead of three. Niccolo Canepa is new to almost every circuit and Mika Kallio is also a MotoGP rookie, so I think Sete Gibernau´s feedback in particular will be crucial in getting the bike to fit different styles.´

Ending on a positive note, Mamola thinks harmony in Hayden´s new pit-box could also be a springboard to success, concluding, `The good thing for Nicky is that he seems to be getting on very well with his new team-mate. Casey and Nicky are both good guys with similar backgrounds and, crucially, they speak the same language. Literally and in their approach to racing.´

MotoGP, 2008, Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro Team

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