Vittoriano Guareschi holds a unique position in the MotoGP
paddock, being both test rider and team manager for the Ducati Marlboro Team.
The transition from rider to team manager came at the end of 2009, when Livio Suppo moved to Honda, and Guareschi now has the pleasure - and pressure - of overseeing MotoGP
superstar Valentino Rossi's first season on a Desmosedici.
Giving the seven time MotoGP
champion the bike he wants has been made harder by the Italian's shoulder surgery, and then sickness today, during day two of the second Sepang test.
But Ducati and Guareschi remain confident...
Vitto, first of all tell us about your riding career before becoming team manager?
I began racing in the 125cc Italian Championship in 1988. Many years ago! After ten years in Italian Championship, 125cc and 600, I started in Supersport and rode in the world championship in '97 and '98, when I finished second in the championship twice and won four times.
I rode in World Superbike in '99 and 2000 before coming back to Supersport in 2001, which is when I started my career with the Ducati factory, racing the 748.
Then in 2002 the MotoGP
project began. Filippo [Preziosi] and many others asked me if I wanted to start testing the MotoGP
bike. I took this opportunity so that I could stay close to Ducati, because it is such an important historical factory in Italy.
So I started this MotoGP
testing job in 2002 and I haven't finished, because I still test now. Next month I will test the bike again.
What do you remember most about your time as a Ducati MotoGP
The most important moment was the first time that I rode the MotoGP
bike. In June 2002.
Were you the very first person to ride the Desmosedici?
Yes! The first.
What did you think after the first lap on the bike?
I don't know if it was some luck or just because we have very, very good engineering, but the bike was immediately incredible. Very, very good. A lot of torque and power. It was a monster!
After that first test the bike developed a lot, engine firing order, many things. It was a really interesting time.
Then, at the group IRTA test 'time attack' session at Barcelona, when Loris [Capirossi] set the best lap time, I thought 'whoa, I did a good job!'