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Mugello proves a step forward for the Ducati Team

In a race that went down to the wire in the final lap at last weekend’s Gran Premiod’Italia TIM, the Ducati Team recorded one of its best results yet this season in front of an enthusiastic Italian crowd at its home race in Mugello.

Valentino Rossi, who fought his way from tenth on the grid to his best dry finish this season in fifth, did well to hold off a spirited race-long attack from Cal Crutchlow, while Nicky Hayden only narrowly missed out on sixth as he diced with Stefan Bradl in the final few turns.


Alessandro Cicognani, MotoGP Project Director at Ducati Team, spoke about the day’s events: “It was our home race, so we really cared about this one. Valentino put in extra effort, and Nicky rode a great race as well, but in the end he lost two positions on the last lap, so for sure he’s a bit disappointed.”

The team, despite not quite able to challenge for the podium, showed significantly improved pace all weekend and looks to be on the right path. Cicognani commented: “I think in the races since Silverstone we have shown a good improvement. We’ve closed the gap a little. Today, apart from Lorenzo and Pedrosa, the other riders were just one second in front of us, so not as big a deal as it was at the beginning of the season. Working hard, maybe we’ll be able to be back in the position to fight for the podium soon.”

Buoyed by the positive results at its home track, the team now heads across the pond to Laguna Seca, where it looks to take yet another step in the right direction. The Italian is optimistic about Ducati’s chances: “For sure Nicky, as Valentino did here, will put in extra effort at [his home race in] Laguna. He’s doing quite well. Maybe he didn’t reap the rewards for what he showed during practice here, so we’ll try to change that for Laguna and of course look for Valentino to be consistent again. Maybe we can have a more positive second part to the season.”

Rossi was pleased with the race pace he could achieve with his Desmosedici and will be looking for the same, if not more, in the US: “Overall, I think Sunday was the best dry result of the year for Ducati, because Nicky had a great race as well. We’re quite happy, as our pace was very good, especially towards the end.”

Hayden, who kept Ducati fans on their toes with a great fight for the podium, was upset about the result, yet pleased he was able to give it a try: “I got a good start, but I was spinning a lot in the beginning, and I thought I was going to destroy the tyre. Once I went to a smoother map, I was able to really start driving off the corners and bringing the group back. Those last seven, eight laps, I really gave it everything; I wasn’t sure I was going to finish, but I was sure I was going to go for it. On the last lap, after I went by Bradl for fourth, I was only thinking about trying to pass ‘Dovi’ and get the Ducati on the podium, so I don’t regret the fact that I tried.”

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Rossi and Hayden close to podium at Italian GP

Today at Mugello, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were protagonists in a great race that saw them cross the finish line in fifth and seventh positions, respectively, both coming very close to making the podium.

 

It was the best dry performance of the season for the Ducati Team, in terms of the gap to the front and the excellent rhythm that both riders were able to maintain to the end.

 

After a poor start, the Italian made a determined charge forward from twelfth place to fifth, making a last-lap pass on his teammate, who himself had fought for the podium before finishing just behind Bradl and Dovizioso.

 

Tomorrow the team will return to action for a one-day post-race test on the Tuscan circuit.

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 5th

“Overall, I think today was the best dry result of the year for Ducati, because Nicky had a great race as well. We’re quite happy, as our pace was very good, especially toward the end. Unfortunately, I lost time at the beginning. Not only was I on the fourth row, but I also had a bad start. I got by some riders pretty quickly, but by then I had already accumulated too much of a disadvantage. Otherwise, I think it would have been possible to make the podium. We’re having too much trouble in practice. Normally we’re able to have a decent rhythm with the hard tyres, but when we put on the soft, we can’t manage to cut those six or seven tenths that the others drop. For two races, we’ve worked on a setting that allows us to be consistent until the end of the race, but at the same time, it gives me more trouble with the front. When I put on the soft tyre, the extra grip makes that problem worse and I’m not able to effectively initiate corner turn-in. We have to work on that area. We have a test day tomorrow, so we’ll see.”

 

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th

“I got a good start, but I was spinning a lot in the beginning, and I thought I was going to destroy the tyre. Once I went to a smoother map, I was able to really start driving off the corners and bringing the group back. Those last seven, eight laps, I really gave it everything; I wasn’t sure I was going to finish, but I was sure I was going to go for it. On the last lap, after I went by Bradl for fourth, I was only thinking about trying to pass ‘Dovi’ and get the Ducati on the podium, so I don’t regret the fact that I tried. In the end, we can’t be happy with seventh, but I hope all the Ducati fans that came to support us can be proud of this team this weekend. They gave me a good bike, and we really had a shot at the podium today.”

 

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

“Today we got to see a nice race for both Vale and Nicky, and it was the result of the good work done by the team over the weekend. We found some settings that were adapted to the needs of both riders so that they were able to take advantage of our current potential. Now we must continue working to take a step forward with the bike’s development. Tomorrow we’ll test some things with the chassis in order to improve the bike’s balance, and we’ll try some details with the motor in an effort to further improve rideability.”

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Hayden fourth at Mugello, Rossi unable to capitalize in qualifying

Nicky Hayden posted the fourth-best lap time in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. The American made two clean attempts for fast laps near the end of the session, and in both cases he was well into the 1 minute, 48 second range, finishing just over one tenth of a second off the front row and less than four tenths from pole.

 
Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, wasn’t able to take advantage of the soft tyre, and his time, which was good for tenth on the grid, came when he was on the hard tyre.

 

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 4th (1:47.671)

“That was exciting. I don’t think anyone left anything on the table today, which is the way that qualifying should be. My goal was to be in the 47s and in the top five, and we accomplished that, which is good. On the other hand, to be so close to the front row here at Mugello makes me wish for just that little bit more. Still, fourth on the grid isn’t a bad starting spot here at Mugello. We picked up a couple of things today, and we’ve steadily made the bike a bit better. Compared to yesterday, I was quite a bit quicker with the hard tyre this afternoon. It’s going to be an extremely hard race, because at these temperatures, tyre wear could be difficult. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow. Hopefully I can do a good result that this team, these fans and I can all be proud of. I’m expecting a wild one tomorrow.”

 

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 10th (1:48.502)

“It didn’t go very well, which is a shame. The biggest problem was that I didn’t improve at all with the soft tyre, while the others lowered their times a lot. It’s too bad because we’re not so far off with the hard tyre. With the soft, I had a lot of chatter, to the point that I couldn’t take advantage of it. Anyway, the hard tyre is what will be used in the race, so we could go a little better. Of course I’ll have to start tenth, from the fourth row, so I’ll have to make some passes. We’re pretty fast in the first part of the track, but we lose a lot in T4. We’ll see what we can do.”

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Ducati Team prepares for home race at Mugello

The Ducati Team has travelled from Germany back home to Mugello, where the Italian Grand Prix—the ninth of eighteen rounds on the calendar—will take place on Sunday.

The circuit that twists through the Tuscan hills north of Florence is one of Valentino Rossi’s favourites, and the Italian has no fewer than nine wins there across all classes. Nicky Hayden, who made the Mugello podium in 2006, is also fond of the circuit. At the Sachsenring, both riders made some promising adjustments to the setups of their GP12s, and now they hope to also confirm the effectiveness at of those changes at the fast Italian circuit.

As always, thousands of ducatisti will converge upon the two beautiful Correntaio grandstands to cheer for the Ducati Team.

VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
“Last Sunday at the Sachsenring, we used a setup that enabled us to be more consistent and to stress the rear tyre a bit less so that we still had a decent pace at the end of the race. It was our best result of the year so far in the dry, so now we’ll start from that base in an effort to improve at Mugello. It’s the Italian Grand Prix, so everyone, including myself, must make an extra effort to do well in our home race. It’s one of the nicest tracks in the world, in terms of the layout of the circuit, the atmosphere and all the fans that come to watch us and support us. We really have to try to do our best.”

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
“Although I still have a bitter taste in my mouth about last week’s race, I’m very much looking forward to Mugello. It’s one of the best tracks and races of the whole year, especially being there on a Ducati. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of support, and it’s a pretty busy weekend, but it’s a race and an event that I enjoy. It’s certainly not an easy track, as it’s very technical and you’ve really got to be on your marks there. It will be one of the tracks where we really get to open up the 1000s, and I’m expecting some pretty high top speeds. It hasn’t been an easy track for me with Ducati, but I like it a lot. We need to try to put the whole weekend together and do a good result on Sunday, when it really counts.”

VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“Racing at home, at the end of a stretch of three races in a row, is truly a big responsibility for both the team and the riders, but at the same time, it gives us extra motivation. There’s a big difference between a short, narrow track like the Sachsenring, and one that’s old-style, with long straightaways and big, fast corners like Mugello, but we must manage to find the positive aspects of the setup that we identified in Germany. In this way, we can make it possible for Vale and Nicky to do their best, and also to enjoy themselves in a race that means a lot to both of them.”

MUGELLO CIRCUIT RECORDS

Circuit Record: Dani Pedrosa (Honda – 2010), 1:49.531 – 172.389 Km/h (107.118 mph)
Best Pole: Casey Stoner (Honda – 2011), 1:48.034 – 174.778 Km/h (108.602 mph)
Circuit Length: 5.245 km (3.259 mi)
2012 MotoGP Race: 23 laps (120.635 km/74.959 mi)
2012 MotoGP Schedule: 2:00 p.m. Local Time

2011 PODIUM: 1st Jorge Lorenzo, 2nd Andrea Dovizioso, 3rd Casey Stoner
2011 POLE: Casey Stoner (Honda) 1:48.034 – 174.778 km/h (108.602 mph)

DUCATI TEAM’S BEST RESULTS AT MUGELLO
2011: 6th (Rossi)
2010: 4th (Stoner)
2009: 1st (Stoner)
2008: 2nd (Stoner)
2007: 4th (Stoner)
2006: 2nd (Capirossi)
2005: 3rd  (Capirossi)
2004: 4th  (Bayliss)
2003: 2nd (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: 266 (206 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 Mugello
2011: Grid, 12th, Race, 6th
2010: Grid, DNS; Race, DNS
2009: Grid, 4th; Race, 3rd
2008: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st
2007: Grid, 3rd; Race, 1st
2006: Grid, 3rd; Race, 1st
2005: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st
2004: Grid, 3rd; Race, 1st
2003: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st
2002: Grid, 1st; Race, 1st
2001: Grid, 1st; Race, DNF
2000: Grid, 3rd; Race, 12th

Rossi’s 250 track record at Mugello
1999: Grid, 6th; Race, 1st
1998: Grid, 4th; Race, 2nd

Rossi’s 125 track record at Mugello
1997: Grid, 3rd; Race, 1st
1996: Grid, 8th; Race, 4th

NICKY HAYDEN
Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP12
Race number: 69
Age: 30 (born 30 July 1981 in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA)
Residence: Owensboro, Kentucky, USA
Number of GPs: 159 (159 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 Mugello
2011: Grid, 9th; Race, 10th
2010: Grid, 4th; Race, DNF
2009: Grid, 16th; Race, 12th
2008: Grid, 6th; Race, 13th
2007: Grid, 13th; Race, 10th
2006: Grid, 4th; Race, 3rd
2005: Grid, 4th; Race, 6th
2004: Grid, 2nd; Race, DNS
2003: Grid, 17th; Race, 12th

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