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Enel Ducati Team 2012: highlights

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Ducati Team embarks on final leg of flyaway tour

Fresh off an eventful race at the Malaysian Grand Prix, the Ducati Team makes its way to Australia for the final weekend of a three-round overseas stint. Among the riders, the spectacular Phillip Island circuit is one of the most popular on the MotoGP calendar, thanks in large part to its spectacular layout. Situated next to the Bass Straight, it features a variety of corner types, though it’s best known for its thrilling faster turns.
In the past, the Ducati Team has tallied four wins at the Australian Grand Prix, and both riders have successful records there as well. Valentino Rossi has accumulated five victories and an additional six podiums, while Nicky Hayden has two poles, three podium finishes, and the lap record, set in 2008.
Phillip Island is also famous for offering inclement weather conditions, and forecasts indicate that the tendency could well hold true for this weekend’s event.
“Phillip Island is always a fantastic track, as it’s special and unique. It’s very fast and is near the ocean, which opens up in front of you after the main straightaway, and there are corners that are different from each other, with varying speeds and steepness. It’s a track that a rider has to love. Racing a MotoGP bike there is a lot of fun, but it was a difficult weekend for us last year, so we’ll have to try very hard to do better. In addition, the forecasts show that there will be inclement weather, with rain and cold, so we’re expecting challenging conditions. We’ll really have to do our best.”
“Phillip Island is always a great GP, one of the best. The track is really fast and flowing, and I’ve had some good results there in the past. I really like so much about it: the atmosphere, the fast corners, and the fact that it runs counter-clockwise. We’ve also got some work to do. I’ve liked the new chassis since I’ve been on it, but now it’s time to find a direction for improving it further. We also want to figure out how to regain the advantage we used to have in the rain, and judging by the forecasts, we might get a chance to work on that in Australia.”
“Phillip Island is a track where we’ve done well in the past. We’re coming off a strange weekend at Sepang, where the race was affected by the weather conditions, and where—although we could have done better—we had a decent race. The forecasts indicate it could also rain in Australia, and it’s always cold when we’re there. If that’s the case, we’ll start with a setup that wasn’t bad in Malaysia, but we know that we’ll have to improve, because the others are now more competitive in those conditions. We’ve identified some ideas that we hope could improve our performance in the wet, and we’ll try them on the track if the track conditions are similar to those that we had at the last race.”
Circuit Record: Nicky Hayden (Honda – 2008), 1:30.059 – 177.803 Km/h 110.482 mph)
Best Pole: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1:28.665 – 180.598 Km/h 112.218 mph)
Circuit Length: 4.448 km (2.764 mi)
2012 MotoGP Race: 27 laps (120.096 km/74.624 mi)
2012 MotoGP Schedule: 4:00 p.m. Local Time
2011 PODIUM: 1st Casey Stoner, 2nd Marco Simoncelli, 3rd Andrea Dovizioso
2011 POLE: Casey Stoner (Honda), 1:29.975 – 177.969 Km/h
2011: 7th (Hayden)
2010: 1st (Stoner)
2009: 1st (Stoner)
2008: 1st (Stoner)
2007: 1st (Stoner)
2006: 4th (Gibernau)
2005: 3rd (Checa)
2004: 3rd (Capirossi)
2003: 2nd (Capirossi)
Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP12
Race number: 46
Age: 33 (born in Pesaro 16 February 1979)
Residence: Tavullia (Pesaro, Italy)
GPs: 274 (214 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 Phillip Island
2011: Grid, 13th Race, DNF
2010: Grid, 8th; Race, 3rd
2009: Grid, 2nd; Race, 2nd
2008: Grid, 12th; Race, 2nd
2007: Grid, 2nd; Race, 3rd
2006: Grid, 3rd; Race, 3rd
2005: Grid, 2nd; Race, 1st
2004: Grid, 2nd; Race, 1st
2003: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st
2002: Grid, 7th; Race, 1st
2001: Grid, 2nd; Race, 1st
2000: Grid, 8th; Race, 3rd
Rossi’s 250 track record at Phillip Island
1999: Grid, 7th; Race, 1st
1998: Grid, 2nd; Race, 1st
Rossi’s 125 track record at Phillip Island
1997: Grid, 3rd; Race, 6th
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: 165 (165 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 Phillip Island
2011: Grid, 6th; Race, 7th
2010: Grid, 6th; Race, 4th
2009: Grid, 7th; Race, 15th
2008: Grid, 3rd; Race, 3rd
2007: Grid, 4th; Race, DNF
2006: Grid, 1st; Race, 5th
2005: Grid, 1st; Race, 2nd
2004: Grid, 14th; Race, 6th
2003: Grid, 5th; Race, 3rd

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Ducati demonstrates potential in soaking Sepang

The torrential rainfall at last weekend’s Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang may have cut the race short, but yielded a great joint result for the Ducati Team, whose riders both demonstrated the bike’s potential in very difficult conditions.


Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi commented after the weekend: “It was certainly a strange Sunday, with conditions that we hadn’t ridden in the whole weekend. We started with the tyres as an unknown and opted for the hard rain, which in the end turned out to be a good choice. Our bike performs very well in wet conditions, and both riders took good advantage of that.”


It was in fact a tyre lottery for the whole grid at the start, with almost all riders on the softer option rear tyre suffering with too great a degradation and struggling immensely towards the latter part of the race. Having opted for the harder rear, the Ducati pair of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi were able to push their bikes right up until the red flags came out and halted the race for safety reasons. Hayden finished in his season-best result in fourth, while Rossi fought back from an early error to come in fifth.


Hayden stated after the race: “Those were really tough conditions. I got a good launch, but when [Andrea] Dovizioso got sideways in front of me, I shut off the throttle and lost positions. I was able to recover, but I lost some confidence when the rear tried to come around a couple times. I had to be really patient in the beginning, but once I got rolling, I had good rhythm. It was clearly the right decision to call the race. There was a lot of water those last couple of laps, and it was almost impossible to see, although the rear lights on the bikes helped a lot.”


Yet despite his good result, the American is not getting complacent and knows the team must improve:“In dry conditions, I would’ve been thrilled with fourth, but I know our potential is higher in the wet. It would’ve been amazing to give my guys a podium today, but it’s a decent result. Hopefully, it can help me come out of the difficult period and give us something to build on.”


Rossi, who at one point was suffering with problems with his visor, was able to come back through the grid after a costly mistake in turn seven half way through the race: “Our race wasn’t bad because I got a great start despite being so far back, on the fourth row, and then I managed to be pretty fast. I was riding with Dovizioso and [Casey] Stoner, when unfortunately I started having some problems with my visor fogging, and in those extreme conditions, with low light and a lot of water, it was very difficult. I made a mistake in Turn 7, and I was lucky not to crash because it was the same point where Dovizioso, [Ben] Spies and then [Stefan] Bradl went down. Without that mistake, I could have finished fourth because honestly, Stoner was a bit faster than I was, especially in T2. In general though, it didn’t go bad. Of course I would’ve liked to finish the full race, but there was really too much water. I think the decision to stop was correct because in these conditions, the bikes can aquaplane and you can go down in any corner.”

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Enel Ducati Team turns attention to the Brickyard

After an eventful summer break, where the Ducati Team and Valentino Rossi announced their split at the end of 2012, the Italian outfit is fully focussed on the upcoming Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix this weekend.

The infamous Brickyard, which has hosted MotoGP™ races in the past four years, will be a challenge for teams and riders alike, who not only have a very varied layout to deal with, but also some interesting surface changes. It is a counter-clockwise race, and puts tremendous strain on the left shoulder of the tyre, which is why Bridgestone will be providing asymmetrical tyres featuring harder rubber on the left side.

Jeremy Burgess, Rossi’s crew chief, explains the challenges that the team will face: “Indy’s an interesting track. It’s left hand – same as Laguna Seca. It’s got a fast straight, a lot of slow corners, and in particular it has some surface changes, so the track is difficult for a lot of riders. And the last sequence of corners coming onto the straight are very much to the left, so you put a lot of temperature into that side of the tyre, which can make it difficult to enter onto the straight well. So, the setting of the bike is quite difficult, or has been, for us in the past. So it’s quite interesting.”

The Australian also doesn’t believe that the now increased engine capacity will give any significant advantage or disadvantage: “I don’t think we’ll see much difference. The circuit at Indy is nothing special in terms of 800cc or 1000cc – the corners are very flat, because it’s laid out within the confines of the oval circuit of course. And that itself is interesting, but it’s a good circuit, and I enjoy going there.”

Rossi, despite his decision to leave, has pledged to do his upmost for the team before the end of the season: “This break served as an opportunity to make important decisions for the future, but now I want to return to thinking about the races because we want to improve, and during the weekend it’s important to focus completely on what we have to do on the track. Indianapolis isn’t one of my favourite circuits, although I do have a win there. It’s a particular track because it’s one of those that goes in the opposite direction, so the lines are a bit strange in many of the corners. It’s a tricky track, but we’ll try to do our best and have fun.”

Teammate Nicky Hayden, for whom this is the closest track to a home race, is hoping to do well in front of his local crowd: “Laguna was fun, but Indy is really my home GP, just across the state line from Kentucky. Hopefully we can do a good result. We struggled more at Laguna than I expected, but Indy is much faster, with more opportunities to open the throttle. It should be nice to ride that track on the 1000s, and it will be fun for the American fans to really get to see them in action. Last season, tyre wear was critical there, but hopefully the pavement will come in a bit better this year. I hope to be competitive starting on Friday, and I’ll definitely be disappointed if we don’t get the best result of the season so far.”

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