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Ducati Team completes weather-affected test at Valencia


As was the case yesterday, today’s second and final day of the post-race MotoGP test at the Valencia circuit saw track time limited by weather conditions. Overnight rains dampened the circuit, and sprinkles throughout the morning had the Desmosedicis of Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso confined to the garage. Finally, just before 3:30 p.m., the slow-drying asphalt was in good enough condition for both riders to head out on slick tyres, and they rode off-and-on until the track closed at 5:00 p.m.
The American tested a new frame with a different stiffness than the standard version. Meanwhile, his new teammate had his first experience with the bike in dry conditions, and in the brief time at his disposition, he worked on an initial electronic setup.
The Ducati Team and its riders will return to the track for a test at the Jerez circuit November 28-30.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 4th, 1:32.956 (33 laps)

“It looked like we might not be able to go out today, so I’m happy that we got to do some riding. That’s why you don’t give up and go home early! We didn’t make any huge gains or anything, but I got to test some things, and it was time well spent. I think the new frame helped improve the turning, and I also tried some things with the electronics, as well as a different suspension link that I had already tried earlier in the year. The track actually wasn’t bad, apart from a couple of wet patches. Anyway, it’s too early to draw any conclusions, but we look forward to the next test.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) 6th, 1:33.238, (31 laps)

“We only had about an hour and a half and it was pretty overcast, with wet patches, so the conditions were difficult for my first impression in the dry. It wasn’t the occasion to try lots of changes, so we weren’t able to set the bike up perfectly. Still, the lap time is quite good, and so is the feeling. Of course it’s always a big change to switch bikes, and it takes time to understand. Hopefully we’ll have good weather for the test in Jerez.”
Filippo Preziosi, Technical Director

“I’m very happy with the test. Unfortunately, the weather was bad, so today we only had four or five exits in dry conditions. Still, Nicky had a reasonable gap to the front, and Dovi did his best lap times with a tyre that had some laps on it. Nicky liked the new frame, which seemed to improve turning, but we have to try it again at Jerez. Considering the circumstances, we got some good information, and the mood is very positive. I’m pleased with the way the team is working, and I’m optimistic for the future.”

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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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Valentino Rossi completes Misano test, Nicky Hayden recovery on schedule


Valentino Rossi today finished a two-day test at Misano, completing an intense period of work along with the Ducati Team technicians.

 

The Italian turned 80 laps while working with the chassis updates that he had first tried during the post-race test at Mugello on July 15. Among the updates were a new frame and a new swingarm, which will be available in time for the next race, at Misano.

 

Meanwhile, Nicky Hayden checked in from the United States, reporting that his recovery is proceeding according to plan for an anticipated return at the San Marino Grand Prix.

 

“We carried out a series of tests with the chassis, and the results were  interesting, though they still have to be checked against the other riders,” Valentino Rossi said at the conclusion of the long work day. “We also worked on the bike’s setup, with the goal of trying to limit the drop in performance that we usually suffer after some laps, as the tyres wear. We had some promising signs there as well, and we’ll check them again in a race context.”

 

“It was pretty tough to be home while my rivals were racing, and testing is also something that I hated missing, as we had some parts that we could possibly use this year,” Nicky Hayden reported from the U.S. “Everything else is good news though. Bones don’t heal in ten days, but the swelling is down in my hand, and the feeling is much better with both that and my head. Everything’s right on schedule, and I’m really looking forward to getting back on the bike.”

 

“Over these two days with Valentino, we focused on chassis testing,” said Filippo Preziosi. “Based on the feedback he provided, we’ll bring a new frame and a new swingarm to the next race. In the meantime, the Corse department will continue working according to the development plan that was established following the June test at Aragon. Over the remainder of the season, the Test Team and the factory riders will have the opportunity to try further chassis evolutions, which are currently being produced.”

 

 

 

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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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