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New look for 2012 Championship as MotoGP kicks off in Qatar

The 2012 MotoGP World Championship starts on Thursday at Losail International Circuit, with the first free-practice session scheduled for 6 p.m. (40 minutes) for the Moto3 class, 6:55 (45 minutes) for Moto2 and 7:55 (45 minutes) for MotoGP.
It will be a long weekend, with riders taking to the track a day early and the race being held at night, as has been the custom at this venue, but those aren’t the only unique characteristics of the season-opening Grand Prix. This year is also marked by MotoGP’s return to the 1,000cc maximum-displacement limit and the debut of the CRT bikes.
During the three winter tests, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden started their work on the Ducati GP12, which debuted two months ago. While their focus during the Qatar practice sessions will be on preparing for the race, the two riders and their respective teams will also continue to work on finding their harmony with the new bike.
“We worked hard over the winter, and although we went the wrong direction at one point, we once again managed to find the good feeling with the GP12 that we’d had in the first test. With those settings, which we’ll start with in Qatar, I was able to get good feedback from the bike. At Losail it will be very important to work well during the sessions leading up to qualifying so that we can increase our confidence step by step as we approach Saturday, always trying to maximize our potential. I’m a realist, and I know well that our times are still a long way off and that there are still some things to fix. We won’t be able to address some of them right away, but it’s also true that both we at the track and the guys back home now have a direction to work in, and we must try to do as well as we can. We won’t completely redo the bike during the season, but we’ll try to progress little by little.”
“This is my tenth season in MotoGP, and I’m looking forward to it. I have a really solid team and I think we have a good bike this year. With all the injuries from Valencia and my training incident, preparation obviously hasn’t gone exactly how you’d like it to, but Jerez was a good test for me to do a lot of laps at very close to 100 per cent. Qatar is pretty unique because we’re racing at night, but the truth is, after you get rolling, you don’t notice it by about the third of fourth corner. It really doesn’t change too much with things like lines and bike setup, but as it gets later, you have to be careful with the condensation on the track, especially in Turn 2. I’d like to be going into the first race closer to the front, but hopefully we can do some steps. I’ve basically only ridden around by myself on this bike, so it will be nice to get in the race and really see how it stacks up against the others.”
“It was an off-season marked by hard work, with a lot of effort expended by Ducati and all the guys in the racing department. Valentino and Nicky also had to work hard on the track, and despite some difficult moments during the winter, which I think is normal when you work on this kind of a schedule, we come to Qatar with a decent base. It’s a starting point, or rather one of the steps along the path that we’re following. We know that other steps await and we’ve planned for them, and as always, the races will give us more accurate answers than the tests. Although our priority will be to work toward putting Vale and Nicky in the best conditions possible for Sunday, I’m sure that we’ll also gather important information to help us continue improving our bike.”
Lap Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1:55.153, 168.193 Km/h (104.510 mph)
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2008), 1:53.927, 170.003 Km/h (105.635 mph)
Track Length: 5.380 km (3.343 mi)
2012 MotoGP Race: 22 laps (118.360 km, 73.546 mi)
2012 MotoGP Race Time: 10:00 p.m. local time
2011 Podium: 1st Casey Stoner, 2nd Jorge Lorenzo, 3rd Dani Pedrosa
2011 Pole: Casey Stoner (Honda) 1:54.137 – 169.7 Km/h (105.447 mph)
2011 Fastest Lap: (13th lap) Casey Stoner (Honda) 1:55.366 – 167.9 Km/h (104.3 mph)
2011: 7th (Rossi)
2010: 4th (Hayden)
2009: 1st (Stoner)
2008: 1st (Stoner)
2007: 1st (Stoner)
2006: 3rd (Capirossi)
2005: 6th (Checa)
2004: DNF

Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP12
Race Number: 46
Age: 33 (born in Pesaro, Italy, 16 February 1979)
Residence: Tavullia (Pesaro, Italy)
Number of GPs: 258 (198 x MotoGP, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
First GP: 1996 Malaysian GP (125cc)
Number of Wins: 105 (79 x MotoGP, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)
First GP Win: 1996 Czech Republic GP (125cc)
Poles: 59 (49 x MotoGP, 5 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
First Pole: 1996 Czech Republic GP (125cc)
World Championships: 9 (6 x MotoGP, 1 x 500cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 125cc)
Rossi’s MotoGP Results at Losail
2011: Qualifying, 9th; Race, 7th
2010: Qualifying, 2nd; Race, 1st
2009: Qualifying, 2nd; Race, 2nd
2008: Qualifying, 7th; Race, 5th
2007: Qualifying, 1st; Race, 2nd
2006: Qualifying, 6th; Race, 1st
2005: Qualifying, 3rd; Race, 1st
2004: Qualifying, 23rd; Race, DNF
Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP12
Race Number: 69
Age: 30 (born in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA, 30 July 1981)
Residence: Owensboro (Kentucky, USA)
Number of GPs: 151 (151 x MotoGP)
First GP: 2003 Japanese GP (MotoGP)
Number of Wins: 3 (3 x MotoGP)
First GP Win: 2005 USA GP (MotoGP)
Poles: 5 (5 x MotoGP)
First Pole: 2005 USA GP (MotoGP)
World Championships: 1 (6 x MotoGP, 2006)
Hayden’s MotoGP Results at Losail
2011: Qualifying, 13th; Race, 9th
2010: Qualifying, 9th; Race, 4th
2009: Qualifying, 16th; Race, 12th
2008: Qualifying, 6th; Race, 10th
2007: Qualifying, 9th; Race, 8th
2006: Qualifying, 4th; Race, 2nd
2005: Qualifying, 8th; Race, 3rd
2004: Qualifying, 4th; Race, 5th

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Ducati Team aims for the podium at Assen

This weekend’s Iveco TT Assen welcomes the MotoGP World Championship for Round 7 of the 2011 season. The 81st Dutch TT kicks off another set of back-to-back rounds after only one weekend off following the back-to-back rounds of Catalunya and Silverstone. Read the full story

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Enel Ducati Team at Assen with new development steps

The Enel Ducati Team, continuing its development process with the Desmosedici, will introduce a variety of new updates at Assen. Read the full story

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Enel Ducati Team back in action at Silverstone

The British Silverstone circuit, which on May 17 inaugurated an impressive new structure called “The Wing” that includes offices, a pit lane and large, modern garages hosts the sixth round of the MotoGP world championship on Sunday.

Construction of the new structure necessitated the relocation of the starting line, which is now situated nearly on the opposite side of the track compared to before, but the circuit’s layout is identical to last year. Valentino Rossi, who was injured before last year’s race weekend, has never competed at Silverstone, although he turned about twenty laps there last year aboard an 1198 street bike, during the aforementioned inauguration. On Friday, he’ll face twin assignments: better learn the wide, fast circuit, and work on his bike’s setup.

Nicky Hayden, meanwhile, has good memories of his Silverstone debut, as he took a strong fourth-place finish and just missed out on the podium. On Wednesday, the American did a lap of honor on the Mountain Course at the Isle of Man aboard a Ducati 1198 SP.

“Silverstone is a great track that’s difficult and quite fast. I’ll start on Friday with a small handicap because unfortunately, I didn’t get to race there last year. I haven’t ridden a MotoGP bike there, although I did about twenty laps on an 1198 street bike. I’ll have to learn the track as quickly and as well as possible, as it’s very technical, with several blind spots where taking the right line is very important. Of course we’ll also have to work on adjusting the bike. Anyway, we’re understanding better and better how to approach the setup of the GP11, and Ducati continues working on development. There’s still work to be done, but it’s clear which areas we have to address and we’re all focused and determined to improve.”

NICKY HAYDEN, Enel Ducati Team
“It’s been a short week, because Barcelona was just a few days ago. After the race, I went to the Isle of Man TT, which was a great experience. Now it’s time for Silverstone. We went there for the first time last year, so it’s still kind of new and fresh for us. The track layout is the same, but they’ve changed where we enter the pits, which could make it a little different in some ways. It’s a track I enjoyed a lot last year because it’s big, long and fast. The pavement was a little bumpy in a couple of places, but it was perfect in other parts. I’m looking forward to it.”

“There are a number of aspects of the next Grand Prix that we’ll have to handle as well as we can. Silverstone is a challenging track because it’s technical and very fast, and finding the right lines is important. Nicky knows this well because he had a great race in 2010, finishing two tenths off the podium. Vale has only done some laps on a Ducati street bike, so he’ll have to be quick at learning the track’s secrets. The asphalt is new in some areas and bumpy in others, and that’s a variable to keep in mind when searching for the right setup. Also, it’s often quite cold in the mornings, which could limit the amount of useful track time even more than usual. In any case, the team is working very well, and everyone here is hugely committed, so we hope to keep making progress.”


Circuit Record: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2010), 2’03.526 – 172.005 Km/h
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2010), 2’03.308 – 172.309 Km/h
Circuit Length: 5,902 Km
MotoGP Race 2011: 20 laps (118,040 km)
MotoGP Schedule 2011: 13:00 Local Time

PODIUM 2010: 1st Jorge Lorenzo, 2nd Andrea Dovizioso, 3rd Ben Spies
POLE 2010: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2010), 2’03.308 – 172.309 Km/h

2010: 4th (Hayden)

Bike: Enel Ducati Team Desmosedici GP11
Race number: 46
Age: 32 (born 16 February 1979 in Pesaro, Italy)
Residence: Tavullia (Pesaro, Italy)
Number of GPs: 246 (186 x MotoGP/500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
First GP: Malaysian GP, 1996 (125cc)
Number of wins: 105 (79 x MotoGP/500cc, 14 x 250cc, 12x 125cc)
First GP win: Czech Republic GP, 1996 (125cc)
Poles: 59 (49 x MotoGP/500cc, 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)

Bike: Enel Ducati Team Desmosedici GP11
Race number: 69
Age: 29 (born 30 July 1981 in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA)
Residence: Owensboro, Kentucky, USA
Number of GPs: 139 (139 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 Silverstone MotoGP Results
2010: Grid, 5th; Race, 4th

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Enel Ducati on Web