Ducati Team trio prepares for home race

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Ducati Team will run three bikes at this weekend’s Gran Premio d’Italia TIM, as Michele Pirro makes his second wildcard appearance of the season alongside Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden for the team’s home race.

The first of two races to be staged on mainland Italy but the only one playing the role of the country’s MotoGP race (as opposed to the San Marino event at Misano), Mugello features a Ducati Grandstand to which a hoard of dedicated ‘Tifosi’ flock on an annual basis. Pirro, who rode for Ignite Pramac Racing to cover for Ben Spies last time out in France, will now be back in action on the Ducati GP13 ‘Lab’ bike.

"First of all, I’m very happy to be making my second wildcard ride and I’d like to thank Ducati for this opportunity," Pirro begins, having first raced the ‘Lab’ version in Jerez. "At Le Mans I did my best to adapt to the standard GP13, which I find quite different from the development version that I’ll be going back to this weekend. Mugello is close to Ducati’s offices and we’ve done a lot of testing there, so I’m ready for the race."

Dovizioso heads to Mugello off the back of his and the team’s strongest weekend of the year so far, as he finished fourth from third on the grid at Le Mans.

"I definitely can’t wait to do the Mugello weekend, as it’s the nicest circuit in the world," says Dovizioso. "It’s Ducati’s ‘house’ and there will certainly be many fans on-hand, so it’s really a lot of fun to race there. We’ve already had some tests, so we’ll be prepared, although it will be difficult because we still have basically the same GP13 from Le Mans."

To date, Hayden’s best result at the circuit is third in 2006.

"Of course we’re extremely excited to go to Mugello," says Hayden, premier class champion of 2006. "It’s a great race at a great track with a great atmosphere - really one of the best GPs of the year, especially when you’re riding a Ducati! Our bike was built around the circuit, so it works well there; the straight suits the Desmosedici because you come onto it so fast.

"We’re not expecting miracles, but I think we can do well. The Italian Ducati fans have stuck with us through a lot and it would be nice to leave Mugello with a result they can all be proud of."

After four races and with 14 still to run in 2013, Dovizioso and Hayden are placed sixth and eighth in the Riders’ Championship with 39 and 35 points to their names, respectively.

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