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Major changes in store for Ducati?
10 November 2012
By Stephen English
Rumours of a major upheaval at Ducati have been omnipresent since the Italian manufacturer was purchased by Audi in the summer.
But today (Saturday) several Italian media outlets have reported that the team's technical chief, Filippo Preziosi, will be ousted from his position as general manager of Ducati Corse after next week's Valencia test and that a major shift in philosophy will take place in Bologna.
Preziosi, they say, will be removed from his position as head of Ducati's MotoGP design team, but perhaps far more significant is that the factory's ideology could also change.
Since purchasing Ducati, Audi have taken stock of the team's problems in 2012 and identified key areas with which they will make wholesale changes. The most significant of these could see Suter build the chassis while Ducati concentrate on developing the engine.
Suter, whose chassis has won the Moto2 world championship with Marc Marquez this year, are reported to have been commissioned by Audi earlier in the season to develop a chassis for the Desmosedici.
Ducati denied the reports when asked and this afternoon both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden also denied having been informed of the decision, but it seems all but certain that Preziosi's position will change.
Ducati now look set to develop their machinery more in keeping with the 'Japanese' philosophy. On Friday Casey Stoner was asked what were the biggest differences between racing for Honda and Ducati.
“Towards the end of my time with Ducati I had the engineers working together a lot better, but unfortunately the people above us weren't giving us the funding to push forward,” said Stoner.
“At Honda I haven't found that at all. Since I first went there everything that we asked for and every bit of input we've put in and everything that we think might move us forward they have produced.”
Preziosi's Desmosedici, featuring a steel trellis frame, made its MotoGP debut in 2003 and went on to win seven races in the 990cc era, with Loris Capirossi (6) and Troy Bayliss (1).
New signing Stoner then won 23 races and the 2007 world title during four years on the 800cc machine, which saw increasing structural use of carbon fibre, but the only other post-2006 victory was a single wet/dry win for Capirossi.
Ducati has not won a race since Stoner's departure for Honda at the end of 2010, despite signing seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi to replace the Australian.
Rossi is moving back to Yamaha after just three podiums with Ducati, which switched to a twin-spar aluminium frame - as used by the Japanese bikes - for the start of this season.
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