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21 days ago

Winning the clear objective for Ducati

World Ducati Week gave Ducati fans and riders alike a chance to celebrate and focus on their ultimate goal: another MotoGP™ title.

In the first weekend of July Ducati descend on Misano for a festival dedicated to all the fans and aficionados of Ducati motorcycles. The occasion is World Ducati Week, the 2016 edition coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the Italian brand. The Ducati Corse Department were present, all the riders there to greet the fans, join in the festivities and discuss how the season has progressed from the first test in Sepang to the most recent round in Assen.

Paolo Ciabatti, Sports Director for the Ducati Team in the MotoGP™ World Championship, took to the main stage just after the WorldSBK riders had talked with the adoring fans. “It’s been a pretty good season but definitely below our expectations so far,” Ciabatti said. “We are still missing victory, which has not come since 2010. It is the main objective again for the year and we will endeavour to achieve it and we still have ten races left. We are always working in this direction.”

The microphone then passed to Luigi Dall’Igna, the Ducati Corse General Manager stressing what Ciabatti had said about Ducati’s quest for victory: “It’s a goal that I consider possible but difficult. Our opponents are top notch but we do not feel inferior, both as racers and as a company. There is so much work to be done and we will never be satisfied until we win. For us at Borgo Panigale there is the short-term goal; to climb to the top step of the podium again. The long term goal is to win a second MotoGP title.”

"We will never be satisfied until we win" Luigi Dall'Igna, Ducati Corse General Manager

Soon the two leaders behind the scenes were joined onstage by the two riders pushing Ducati ahead on the track; Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone. “We have come home short,” commented Dovizioso, his season split between satisfaction and bitter disappointment. “We had some bad luck and we are still missing something, small details that make the difference. The level is so high and to stay ahead you need to be perfect.” Dovizioso will remain in red for 2017, set to share his box with Jorge Lorenzo: “I’m happy to have renewed with Ducati, to stop after this year would be to cut a great project short, we have been working for a long time. In these three and a half year we have improved the bike a lot and the next two and a half years will be important. We have the time and opportunity to take chances.”

Andrea Iannone also discussed his 2016 campaign, the rider from Vasto showing incredible speed between turbulent moments, drawing him criticism from the outside world. “After 2015, my first year as a factory rider, we did better than expected and I grew a lot, the expectations for this season were very, very high, just as our ambitions. When races happen like they have this year, it’s never easy. I’ve always tried.” Iannone’s weekends have often followed a similar pattern in 2016: “Throughout the weekend we were very competitive and then on Sunday we always collected less than we could. In the races I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I have always taken responsibility, apologised when I needed to and worked to improve for the next GP. The situation at Assen was very difficult and we worked to hard to bring home an important result after a nice recovery, our position is not the best though.” His future is not with Ducati, but for now Iannone is focused on the present: “I will do my best as I always have. We still have half the season left, we can do so much more, I hope the remaining part is very positive.”

One of the biggest draws of WDW was Ducati’s champion, Casey Stoner. The Australian was welcomed back to Misano by the Ducatisti as though he had never left. Stoner used his trip to Europe to get back out on the Desmosedici, testing in Misano before WDW: “It was a very positive test as whole here in Misano. There are so many Ducati fans and I hope it has been fun for them.” Stoner’s 2007 title remains as Ducati’s only MotoGP™ crown, a living legend to all the fans who flooded the Adriatic coast, “We have done a great job here in Misano with the Desmosedici and we made progress where we needed to improve. For example we focused on traction in the hot conditions, a point where we have struggled a bit this season but we found some solutions. We will see whether they will be useful for the year of the year.”

The question on everyone’s lips was of course whether the Australian would be back out on track, rubbing elbows with the best in the world as a wildcard: “I have no plans to race at this point, honestly. The only plan we have up until this point is to do the test in Austria; this is the next most important thing. Do some training and try to get the body ready for this because the Misano test was hard work!”