Tag Archive | "Alessandro Cicognani"

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Third fastest race-lap gives Ducati optimism at Silverstone

Despite the Ducati Team finishing the Hertz British Grand Prix slightly lower than it had hoped, Alessandro Cicognani, the team’s MotoGP Project Director, is drawing on the positives to take forward to the next round in Assen.

After starting from the third row, Nicky Hayden spent the first part of the race with the four-rider group that was fighting over podium positions, and although he steadily lost ground in the second half, his gap to the front was the team’s smallest in the dry so far this season. He ultimately finished seventh, while his teammate Valentino Rossi finished in ninth.

Cicognani commented on the weekend: “It’s a mixed feeling, because on the on the one hand Valentino didn’t get along with the track, apart from in the rain of course.Nicky was pretty good, because he was able to fight with the top guys for two thirds of the race, and then the tyres dropped in the last third of the race, and in the end he finished 15 seconds behind Lorenzo. So time-wise it’s not so bad.Of course this is not where we would like to be, but it’s a starting point to increase and close the gap.”

One particular plus point of the weekend was the outright pace shown by Hayden, albeit before the tyres started to degrade at too high a rate. Cicognani was particularly pleased with this: “He did the third best lap of the race equal to Dovizioso, only 0.034s off the best lap. So Nicky’s race pace is quite good, apart from the last third. And we have to start from there and see the glass as half full, and try to ride the last third as he did in the first part.”

This optimism is also reflected on his outlook for Assen: “In Assen we would like to improve, also with Valentino. It’s a track he likes, so for sure he will not face the same problems as here. We are confident that we can do well in the second group, but hope to be fighting for the podium as soon as possible.”

Hayden clearly enjoyed himself in the early stages of the race: “I got an awesome start, and the beginning of the race was great. I took some chances to hang in as long as I could, and I enjoyed it and learned some things. Then the grip went, which brought on a lot of chatter. I couldn’t accelerate or carry speed on the straightaway, and we started having a little problem with the electronics in one corner, which cost us some time. We need to figure out how to make me and the bike less hard on the rear tyre, but there were some positives.”

Valentino Rossi was clearly disappointed with his race, but is confident the next round will see a marked improvement: “From the start of the race, I wasn’t able to maintain the pace of the others. I tried to stay with them, but I struggled a lot with mid-corner chatter, and a couple of times I came close to losing control of the bike. Now we must try to understand why I was only able to ride a bit better this morning, in the warm-up, but above all we must try to be more competitive in the next race, at Assen, which is a track that I like and where we want to return to the level we had at Estoril, Le Mans, and Barcelona.”

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Cicognani weighs up Ducati’s Qatar fortunes

Ducati MotoGP Project Director Alessandro Cicognani picked over the bones of the opening round of the 2012 season in Qatar, after watching factory team riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi finish sixth and tenth respectively.

The duo experienced very different weekends, with Hayden qualifying fifth after finding a set-up on the Desmosedici GP12 that gave the American plenty to be content with. It was the Grand Prix debut of the new 1000cc machine and Hayden battled hard in a group that included Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl and Hector Barbera to come out on top.

Rossi had a less positive outcome, qualifying in 12th and then experiencing some difficulties in the early stages of the race which also saw him run off track and lose positions before fighting back to finish the 22-lap contest in 10th.

Looking back over the weekend and the race, Cicognani said: “For the first race of the season for sure we were expecting a better race. Until Saturday, especially the practice sessions with Nicky, were good.

“We hoped to maintain fifth position, but in the end we took sixth with Nicky and Vale with the problem he had at the beginning was not able to come back. The gap is still big to the front guy and we just have to work hard to get back.

“The most positive thing is that we are not giving up at all. We fight back. Nicky had a hard battle during the race with the other riders fighting with him, and he was able to maintain the position. So we will try, we will work hard and we will do the best we can.”

Hayden was left slightly disappointed at not finishing higher than sixth, but was hugely satisfied with the work put into the bike over the off-season.

“I felt we had the potential to run with Dovizioso and Crutchlow, but considering my injuries and limited testing over the winter, I guess sixth is pretty good,” said the American. “We put some good points on the board, got some data and learned a lot from riding with other people.

“I’m excited for the season. I think if we improve some things, we have the potential to put up some good results. I’d like to thank the team, the sponsors and everybody back at Ducati for all their work, because we’ve clearly taken a step forward since last year.”

Rossi commented on how his race came undone on the opening laps, and said: “Unfortunately, I lost a lot of time in the beginning because when I had new tyres with good grip, the rear pushed a lot, making it very difficult under braking.

“Then Barbera pushed me off the track and I lost five or six seconds. Otherwise, I could have stayed with that group.”

Next up for the pair is the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, where Hayden scored a podium finish on the Desmosedici last season.


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Alessandro Cicognani reviews the Japanese GP

The Grand Prix of Japan began on a positive note and improved session by session, with refinement work on the setup of the GP11.1 improving grip levels and allowing for earlier throttle opening – both important points at the fast Twin Ring Motegi circuit. Read the full story

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Rossi and Hayden sixth and seventh at Laguna Seca

Valentino Rossi finished in sixth place at Laguna Seca, one spot ahead of his teammate Nicky Hayden. The two Ducati Team riders lapped at a good pace, even if it wasn’t quite enough to stay with the faster group. Read the full story

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