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Ducati family striving for further success

Ducati family striving for further success

Casey Stoner and his new team-mate Nicky Hayden are aiming for success together in 2009, under the management of Ducati Corse CEO Claudio Domenicali and Ducati MotoGP Project Director Livio Suppo.

It is no secret that former World Champions Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden are friends away from the race track and they are delighted to be working together in 2009, with the American rider joining the Australian at Ducati.

As he approaches his third season with Ducati Stoner’s goal is to reclaim the title this year and his preseason form has been excellent, despite the wrist surgery he had at the end of 2008.

Hayden, for his part, in his first season with the Italian factory, will attempt to master the fearsome Desmosedici, which Stoner has been the only rider to have consistently ridden to success in the last two years.

The Kentucky Kid will have a tough job to beat his new colleague, but the pair will work closely together to overcome their premier class rivals such as Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo, and they can count on plenty of close support from Ducati Corse CEO Claudio Domenicali and Ducati MotoGP Project Director Livio Suppo.

Talking to the website Stoner gave a somewhat elusive answer when asked about who he sees as his strongest rivals in MotoGP this year, saying, “They only show themselves in the beginning or in the middle of the season. I think if you try and predict something before the season starts then a lot of time your predictions are wrong.”

”Almost everyone in the top six last year and some others are capable of winning. It’s like myself in 2007, nobody expected anything from me and I came out and I won the first race and we won the Championship so I think there are always ‘unexpecteds’.”

Hayden’s view on the same subject is, “Certainly the competition gets a lot stronger every year. The level, the speed has increased a lot from my first few years. The young riders have come in and really raised the bar. I could rattle off a lot of names here of people who on any given weekend can be dangerous, but Rossi was the guy who won last year, the guy that won most of the season, other than Casey. So those are two of the main guys that you know we have to step up to. But I don’t want to be here talking about everybody else, I need to worry about myself and what I can control.”

On getting to grips with his new bike over the winter Hayden went on to say, “The first time I rode it to be honest, I was quite nervous. We have seen some good riders struggle on this bike in the past and you know before I signed the contract on the dotted line sure I had a little bit of a nerves going. But in my heart this felt like it was the right place to be and I believed in my skills and when I rode the bike I liked it and felt comfortable on it straight away. The engine is very strong and the chassis was really stable, but I’ve got more to learn.”

Ducati head Domenicali, meanwhile, compared the Desmosedici GP8 with the evolving GP9, citing the new carbon fibre frame as the most significant change. He stated, “This year the difference between the new bike and the 2008 bike is quite big because for the first time we introduced a completely new type of chassis. We have different engine mapping in order to achieve a flatter torque shape. And the flatness of the torque is a very good indicator of the friendliness of the bike.”

Fastest at all the ’09 preseason tests, Stoner is obviously comfortable on the new machine and he commented, “I am really happy and impressed with the new bike. Everything has been working very well. We struggled a little bit last year, we’ve had some problems but I believe we’ve fixed those problems and we can be a lot more consistent for the next season. I think with the Ducati and Shell package that we have at the moment everything technically is working very well, very consistently; we never have any technical issues. So I believe we can hopefully be very competitive for the beginning of the season.”

Stoner’s direct boss Suppo also expects his team to be highly competitive this year and believes that Hayden will be a strong addition to the Ducati family. He revealed, “One of the reasons why we chose Nicky to be Casey’s team-mate is because they have a lot of respect for each other and I think this is very important in a team. We all know that Casey is a super talent and I think Nicky is the perfect team-mate for him because he reaches for the same goal, by which I mean the World Championship. The ‘never-give-up’ attitude of both of them I think is the key, the secret, of the team.”


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