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Martinez named as new Hayden crew chief.

Juan Martinez, crew chief for double MotoGP title runner-up Sete Gibernau while at Gresini Honda, will return to the Ducati Marlboro Team - where he moved with Gibernau in 2006 - as crew chief for the factory's new signing Nicky Hayden.

The change is the most visible part of a restructuring at the factory Ducati team, aimed at helping Hayden close the gap to team-mate and fellow former MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner.

The reshuffle means that the team's track engineer Cristhian Pupulin - who has doubled up as crew chief to Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri and Hayden since 2006 - will now spend more time purely analysing the data collected by all of the Ducati riders.

Hayden had hinted at communication problems with his new team, while accidents and set-up problems also contributed to the American claiming a best qualifying and race result of just twelfth from the first three rounds.

Stoner meanwhile has finished first, fourth and third for second in the standings behind only Valentino Rossi. The next best Ducati rider is presently Pramac rookie Mika Kallio, although the Finn is just eleventh in the points.

Gibernau is presently 15th in the championship for the Francisco Hernando team, with Hayden 17th and Kallio's team-mate Niccolo Canepa 18th and last.

Ducati will also change its approach to the set-up of electronics, with the aim of 'improving the consistency of the bike and facilitating the process of the riders' adaptation to it' after Hayden and the three satellite Ducati riders all failed to match their pre-season test form at Jerez.

“We have a bit of new electronic management and team structure that I think should help me and all the Ducati riders,” said Hayden. “I believe that with Cristhian more freed up from some of the normal work as crew chief he can use his expertise more and focus on really working on the issues I am having with the bike and help give us a better direction and give more info to the factory.

“So to fill his spot we will bring in Juan [Martnez], who has put up some solid results in MotoGP. He has already worked in Ducati and speaks good English and Italian so he was a good match.

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May 11, 2009 1:32 PM

Its great to see that Ducati clearly believe in Hayden (unlike Honda did) and know that he isnt scared of the bucking and weaving Duke but just cant get it sorted. I dont think this will be an instant transformation but maybe 3/4 races from now I would LOVE to see Nicky in the top 5/6. With Bayliss also testing, I hope he can give some good feedback and help Nicky and fellow Duke riders.

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