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Suppo on up and down season so far

Suppo on up and down season so far

Ducati’s MotoGP Project Director Livio Suppo spoke to recently to summarise the 2009 season to date for the Italian factory.

A season which started with a Casey Stoner victory from pole at Qatar for Ducati, but which has run into problems due to the Australian’s ill health, has been something of a frustration to the Italian factory’s management, though there have still been plenty more highlights and plusses from Livio Suppo’s perspective.

Dealing with Stoner’s situation - he is scheduled to return to action at the Grande Premio de Portugal after missing three rounds - has been a big challenge for Ducati, as has been the task of improving the Desmosedici GP9 for their other riders, but Stoner’s delivery of Ducati’s first ever premier class win at their home round at Mugello in May was also a particularly sweet moment.

Generally summarising the 2009 campaign thus far, Suppo commented, “It’s been an up and down season. We led the Championship at one stage, but we have struggled with Casey’s physical problem. We had issues with the bike at the beginning which only worked for Casey and was difficult for the others, but I think we showed a ‘never give up’ attitude, we did a good job technically and the bike is improving race by race.”

On the decision to bring in Mika Kallio from the Pramac Racing Ducati satellite team to temporarily replace Stoner and on the work undertaken to help improve Nicky Hayden’s competitiveness from the start of the year – which involved the re-introduction of Juan Martinez to the team in place of Cristhian Pupulin as Hayden’s crew chief, Suppo also commented:

“I think we’ve been able to manage a very difficult situation with Casey missing three races, but still with Mika Kallio we did something reasonable and Nicky got a good podium in Indianapolis so I'm positive about the season so far. From Barcelona onwards, we went through a very critical period as Casey was leading the Championship when we got to Barcelona and after that he started to lose points because of his condition, so it was the most difficult point of the season.”

Asked about his hopes for the rest of the year Suppo acknowledged the recent contribution made by Aleix Espargaró as a Pramac substitute rider, saying, “For the final part of the season, I hope to see Casey fight again at the top like he’s done in the past and I think Nicky is improving very quickly - he could have had a top four result in Misano, for example. The bike is getting better and better - we saw that with Aleix Espargaró, who is very young and has no experience of MotoGP, but he was able to get some impressive results - he posted the fifth fastest time at Misano.”

MotoGP, 2009, Ducati Marlboro Team

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