Ducati MotoGP Director: ‘We can Be Quite Competitive’ in 2nd Half

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Ducati MotoGP News

Since joining MotoGP in 2003, Ducati has garnered one title, which came in 2007 with Casey Stoner at the controls of the Desmosedici GP7.

Stoner would finish second overall the following year, and then fourth overall in 2009 and 2010. From there, things went sour for the Borgo Panigale-based manufacturer. Even with nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi piloting the Desmosedici, the team could not match the performance of the Honda RC213V or the Yamaha YZR-M1.

In fact, Ducati’s last win in MotoGP arrived at the Australian Grand Prix in 2010 (Stoner, GP10).

The 2014 factory Ducati grid consists of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. The team has again struggled with handling, though the Italian Dovi was able to score two podiums during the first half of the season – third at Circuit of the Americas and second at Assen.

With the second half about to begin in two weeks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ducati MotoGP Project Director Paolo Ciabatti recently commented on the team’s performance so far, and what he expects in the second half of the season.

“It has been quite a good season in terms of results because we’ve had two podium finishes. Dovi was third in Austin and second a couple of weeks ago in Assen. So scoring some good results and is actually standing fourth in the championship, which is good.

“On the other side, Cal had a lot of bad luck with technical problems, with the crash. And also his feeling with the bike is not so good at the moment, so we are trying to help him to understand better the bike and show his potential, because we think Cal is a great rider, but so far he hasn’t really been able to show that he can ride fast a Ducati.”

Ciabatti then commented on the arrival of Luigi Dall’Igna to Ducati from Aprilia, and how the Italian has improved the bike.

“Gigi joined the company last year in Valencia, so at the beginning of November. So obviously the GP14 was basically already designed as a bike. But Gigi brought some ideas, we made a lot of changes, some changes we can no really see on the bike…but also working on software, and other features of the bike. The bike has improved.

“Obviously we still have this under-steering problem, and probably to solve that we need to work a little bit harder in terms of engine design and position of engine in the frame. It’s not up to me to say exactly what we should do. We’re both working on the new bike, the GP15 for next year, but we will bring also a big improvement on the GP14 in the second part of the season.”

Ciabatti then provided some forward-looking statements on the second half of the 2014 MotoGP season: “On some tracks I think we can be quite competitive, also in dry conditions. Obviously we will not be so sad if it’s raining on a Sunday, because our bike has proven to be quite competitive in rainy conditions.

“And as far as Cal is concerned obviously we want to help him get the confidence on the bike because we know once he can get the confidence he will push hard and will be close to the other riders.”

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