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Tyre life key as Ducati heads to final race in Valencia

The Ducati Team heads to this weekend’s Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana looking to finish off the 2012 season on a high. Valentino Rossi, contesting his last race with the Italian outfit, still stands a chance of finishing in fifth place in the table, whilst Nicky Hayden could jump up into eighth.

 

Hayden’s crew chief, Juan Martínez, sums up what is needed from the team to give both riders the best possible tools to achieve their goal: “Valencia racetrack is a track where you don’t have so many corners to the right, so you have to pay a lot of attention in the right hand turns, especially with regards to heating up the tyres to avoid having any crashes there.”

 

He continues: “This year we will have to find out about the different surface, because they have put a new surface on, and it seems like it’s going to be quite aggressive and it’s going to be very hard for the tyres.We will see what type of tyres Bridgestone will be taking there.”

 

The Ducati, known for its very high horsepower, will not be calling upon its outright speed at the Valencia circuit, but will instead have to focus on the frame set-up to prolong tyre life. Martínez adds: “The engine is not as important as it could be at Sepang for example, but we have to work on making the tyre life good enough to finish the race.The frame set-up is going to be very important in order to be gentle on the tyres. When you have a new surface on the track, the grip is not really constant on the tyre. It breaks the rubber and the tyres aren’t able to complete the whole race, so we have to set up our frame perfectly.”

 

Rossi, who has not won at the track since 2004, is looking forward to the atmosphere at the circuit:“Valencia definitely isn’t one of my favourite circuits, apart from the fact that it’s in Spain, which always has a great atmosphere. It’s a ‘Micky Mouse’ track that’s small for MotoGP and therefore difficult and tricky. There are a bunch of left hand corners, and I normally prefer those that go to the right. Anyway, we’ll see. The asphalt was redone and that should have improved both the grip and the bumps. It will be a strange weekend that should be challenging for a few different reasons, but we’ll do our best.”

 

Hayden mirrors his crew chief’s thoughts: “Valencia is a track and a race that I like a lot. It’s the last round of the year, so the atmosphere is good and everyone always seems to have a little something extra. The track has been resurfaced since we were last there, and it was certainly due. We’ll have to see how it is with tyres when we get there, as new surfaces can be hard on rubber. We’ll need something that has good endurance on the left but also retains enough heat on the right. Smoother tracks are normally better for our bike. One thing we need to do better than in recent races is to make bigger improvements with the bike over the course of the weekend. My team has been working so hard all year, and I really want to end the season with a solid race for them.”

 

 

 

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Ducati Team prepares for season finale

After a much-deserved weekend off, the Ducati Team heads to Valencia for the season’s fourth race to be held on Spanish soil and, more importantly, the final round of the eighteen-event MotoGP championship.

 

The team and both of its riders will be looking to make up for last year’s race, at which Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were both taken out by another rider in the first turn. Since then, the circuit has been resurfaced, so it will be important to see how the tyres perform and to adjust bike setup accordingly. The event invariably attracts a large, passionate crowd, and the stadium-like backdrop makes for an exciting atmosphere.

 

Following the Valencia finale, the MotoGP riders and teams will enjoy just one day off before they take part in a test at the same track on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

 

VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team

“Valencia definitely isn’t one of my favourite circuits, apart from the fact that it’s in Spain, which always has a great atmosphere. It’s a ‘Micky Mouse’ track that’s small for MotoGP and therefore difficult and tricky. There are a bunch of left hand corners, and I normally prefer those that go to the right. Anyway, we’ll see. The asphalt was redone and that should have improved both the grip and the bumps. It will be a strange weekend that should be challenging for a few different reasons, but we’ll do our best.”

 

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team

“Valencia is a track and a race that I like a lot. It’s the last round of the year, so the atmosphere is good and everyone always seems to have a little something extra. The track has been resurfaced since we were last there, and it was certainly due. We’ll have to see how it is with tyres when we get there, as new surfaces can be hard on rubber. We’ll need something that has good endurance on the left but also retains enough heat on the right. Smoother tracks are normally better for our bike. One thing we need to do better than in recent races is to make bigger improvements with the bike over the course of the weekend. My team has been working so hard all year, and I really want to end the season with a solid race for them.”

 

VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager

“It’s the last race, and we have the chance for Valentino to finish the season in fifth place. We’ll all do our best to help him achieve that. It’s also important that Nicky finishes the season well, because apart from the wet Malaysian race, he’s been unlucky during the final part of the season. We were unfortunate at Valencia last year in that both riders were taken out in the first-turn crash, but prior to that, we had done a decent qualifying session with the possibility of having a good race. The track has new asphalt this year, so we’ll have to see how well the data that we gathered last season applies.”

 

VALENCIA CIRCUIT RECORDS

 

Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1:32.582 – 155.732 Km/h (96.767 mph)

Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha – 2006), 1:31.002 – 158.436 Km/h (98.448 mph)

Circuit Length: 4.005 km (2.489 mi)

2012 MotoGP Race: 30 laps (120.15 km/74.658 mi)

2012 MotoGP Schedule: 2:00 p.m. Local Time

 

2011 PODIUM: 1st Casey Stoner, 2nd Ben Spies, 3rd Andrea Dovizioso

2011 POLE: Casey Stoner (Honda), 1:31.861 – 156.954 Km/h (97.527 mph)

 

DUCATI TEAM’S BEST RESULTS AT VALENCIA

2011: NA

2010: 2nd (Stoner)

2009: 5th (Hayden)

2008: 1st (Stoner)

2007: 2nd (Stoner)

2006: 1st (Bayliss)

2005: 4th (Checa)

2004: 3rd (Bayliss)

2003: 3rd (Capirossi)

 

DUCATI TEAM – RIDER INFO

 

VALENTINO ROSSI

Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP12

Race number: 46

Age: 33 (born in Pesaro 16 February 1979)

Residence: Tavullia (Pesaro, Italy)

GPs: 275 (215 x MotoGP, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)

First GP: Malaysian GP, 1996 (125cc)

Number of wins: 105 (79 x MotoGP, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)

First GP win: Czech Republic GP, 1996 (125cc)

Poles: 59 (49 x MotoGP, 5 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)

First Pole: Czech Republic GP, 1996 (125cc)

World Titles: 9 (6 x MotoGP, 1 x 500cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc)

 

Rossi’s MotoGP track record at Valencia

2011: Grid, 6th; Race, DNF

2010: Grid, 4th; Race, 3rd

2009: Grid, 4th; Race, 2nd

2008: Grid, 10th; Race, 3rd

2007: Grid, 17th; Race, DNF

2006: Grid, 1st; Race, 13th

2005: Grid, 15th; Race, 3rd

2004: Grid, 3rd; Race, 1st

2003: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st

2002: Grid, 6th; Race, 2nd,

2001: Grid, 2nd; Race 11th

2000: Grid, 5th; Race, DNF

 

Rossi’s 250 track record at Valencia

1999: Grid: 4th; Race: 8th

 

NICKY HAYDEN

Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP12

Race number: 69

Age: 31 (born 30 July 1981 in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA)

Residence: Owensboro, Kentucky, USA

Number of GPs: 166 (166 x MotoGP)

First GP: Japanese GP, 2003 (MotoGP)

Number of wins: 3 (3 x MotoGP)

First GP win: USA GP, 2005 (MotoGP)

Poles: 5 (5 x MotoGP)

First Pole: USA GP, 2005 (MotoGP)

World Titles: 1 (MotoGP, 2006)

 

Hayden’s MotoGP track record at Valencia

2011: Grid, 7th; Race, DNF

2010: Grid, 5th; Race, DNF

2009: Grid, 6th; Race, 5th

2008: Grid, 3rd; Race, 5th

2007: Grid, 3rd; Race, 8th

2006: Grid, 5th; Race, 3rd

2005: Grid, 3rd; Race, 2nd

2004: Grid, 5th; Race, DNF

2003: Grid, 4th; Race, 16th

 

 

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Ducati Team reflects on tough Phillip Island

Following last weekend’s AirAsia Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island the Ducati Team was left satisfied with the effort put in by the team and riders, yet left frustrated by the end result.

 

Valentino Rossi led the Ducati pack throughout the race at a track where he has won five times in the premier-class, whilst Nicky Hayden stalked him until the end, yet was unable to make a pass stick on the seven-times world champion. The pair finished seventh and eighth respectively. Ducati’s team manager Vittoriano Guareschi said about the difficult weekend for the team: “We suffered a lot, because we were fighting for seventh position in the third group. Our focus, and our target, was to fight with the second group. We tried our best, but we unfortunately we got this.”

 

At the last race of the season, the Ducati Team will field Rossi for the last time ever on-board its bike, and Guareschi is confident the Italian will be giving his all once more: “Sure Valentino will push as well in Valencia. I’m sure he’ll want to finish in the best possible way. We have one race left with him and it’s also important for us to get the best result.”

 

Discussing the team’s chances at Valencia, Guareschi commented: “The track has completely new asphalt, so it will be new for everybody. Normally when the asphalt has good grip, for us it’s a good opportunity to get a good result. But it will be a surprise.”

 

Rossi explained the areas he was struggling with on the bike in Australia: “As far as the result is concerned, I think seventh place was probably the best that was possible, whereas the gap could have been better. Nicky was with me the whole race. I was ahead and I pushed, but I was never able to shake him. The bike I crashed with in the warm-up had some small changes that we wanted to try, but honestly, I don’t think I could have done much more. I’m not able to enter the corners fast because whenever I try, I go too wide. I have to brake earlier, try to keep a bit of margin, and then accelerate as soon as possible, but by opening the gas very early, with the bike leaned over, the tyre heats up a lot on the edges. In the race it immediately started sliding too much.”

 

Hayden, who is a huge fan of the circuit, was also left frustrated after the race: “It was a really hard weekend. Normally I love Phillip Island, but we did 32.3s in FP1 and weren’t able to improve grip and turning much since, despite making a lot of changes. I felt a little better in the race and was able to fight with Valentino a little bit. He was faster in the beginning, but once the tyres went away, I could manage, although front-tyre wear hurt me toward the end. I thought I might be able to have a go at him in the last couple of laps, but then I ran wide in turn 11 and he got a break on me. He was going to be tough to beat anyway. It’s frustrating, because I remember battling with Valentino for the win here, and we’ve been on the podium together a few times at this track.”

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Difficult race for Ducati Team at Phillip Island

The Australian Grand Prix, which today saw Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo crowned world champions in the Moto2 and MotoGP classes, respectively, proved to be particularly challenging for the Ducati Team and its two riders, who brought home seventh and eighth place points.

 

Despite working hard along with their respective teams, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden weren’t able to maintain a fast enough race pace to fight with the group of riders whose lap times they had approached over the previous two days.

 

The Australian race completes the long overseas trip and leaves only the Spanish round in Valencia, which will close out the 2012 season in two weeks.

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th

“As far as the result is concerned, I think seventh place is probably the best that was possible, whereas the gap could have been better. Nicky was with me the whole race. I was ahead and I pushed, but I was never able to shake him. The bike I crashed with in the warm-up had some small changes that we wanted to try, but honestly, I don’t think I could have done much more. I’m not able to enter the corners fast because whenever I try, I go too wide. I have to brake earlier, try to keep a bit of margin, and then accelerate as soon as possible, but by opening the gas very early, with the bike leaned over, the tyre heats up a lot on the edges. Today it immediately started sliding too much. Complements to Marquez and Lorenzo for their titles, which both of them certainly deserve.”

 

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 8th

“It was a really hard weekend. Normally I love Phillip Island, but we did 32.3s in FP1 and haven’t been able to improve grip and turning much since, despite making a lot of changes. I felt a little better in the race and was able to fight with Valentino a little bit. He was faster in the beginning, but once the tyres went away, I could manage, although front-tyre wear hurt me toward the end. I thought I might be able to have a go at him in the last couple of laps, but then I ran wide in turn 11 and he got a break on me. He was going to be tough to beat anyway. It’s frustrating, because I remember battling with Valentino for the win here, and we’ve been on the podium together a few times at this track. Thanks to the team because we really tried everything this weekend.”

 

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

“It was a very challenging weekend for the team and the riders, even if everyone tried their best to find a setup that would work on this track. Today’s crash in the warm-up certainly didn’t help Valentino, but anyway, I don’t think things would have gone much differently. Nicky had a difficult time all weekend. Back home, we’ll have to analyse all the data we’ve gathered and do better at Valencia in the last race.”

 

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