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Catalunya MotoGP: 'Nice memories' for Ducati
11 June 2013
This weekend's Catalunya Grand Prix marks the 10-year anniversary of Ducati's first MotoGP victory, claimed during its debut premier-class season, with Loris Capirossi (pictured).
“Barcelona is a track that has many nice memories for Ducati and for me; ten years ago, the GP3 made its debut there in winter testing with Loris Capirossi, who took the pole in the time attack,” recalled team manager Vittoriano Guareschi.
“Also, this year is the tenth anniversary of Ducati's first MotoGP victory!”
That win was the first of 31 victories for the Italian factory, but the run came to an abrupt halt with the departure of Casey Stoner at the end of 2010.
The two seasons that followed brought just four podiums, despite the signing of Valentino Rossi, prompting a change of structure and tactics for 2013. Cautious evolution appears to be the main theme, with Ducati introducing no major changes to its motorcycle since the end of 2012.
New parts may not be arriving at quite the speed that race riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden would like, but the Test Team - strengthened by the arrival of Michele Pirro - have been working on all areas of performance via the 'lab' bike.
“We head to Barcelona fresh off of another two days of testing at Mugello, where we found a couple of interesting things. Now we'll try them on a different track to see if they provide some benefits,” said Guareschi
“I'd just like to add that during this busy period - between racing, testing, and development - we're all under pressure and working really hard, so I'd like to thank all the team members for their effort.”
Rossi's replacement Dovizioso took Ducati's first front row start of the season last time at Mugello and currently holds a creditable fifth in the world championship.
Like team-mate Nicky Hayden, Dovi got to try the factory's latest developments in a private test at Mugello last week. After the test, Dovizioso said that he hopes to try a revised frame this weekend, although he may have to wait for the post-race test.
“Barcelona is one of the nicest tracks on the calendar, and it's always fun to go to Spain for a race weekend,” said the Italian, who finished third for Tech 3 Yamaha in last year's race.
“As for the Ducati, I'm not sure because I've never ridden the GP13 on this circuit, but it might not be the best track for us because of the fast corners where our bike tends to 'pump' a bit in the rear.
“Still, I'm keeping an open mind as we head to Barcelona. I'm always very excited to go there, and I'm optimistic following a good weekend at Mugello and a good test last week.”
Hayden, who did not feel that the 'lab' bike offered a significant improvement at the test, also enjoys Barcelona, although he hasn't stood on the podium since his title winning 2006 season.
“Barcelona hasn't been a great weekend for me in recent years. I've struggled a bit there, especially with the long corners, which are very important,” he confirmed. “Still, we know Catalunya is a great track, and I really enjoy the area and the atmosphere.
“I certainly hope to do a better result there than I have the last couple of seasons. We'll see what we can come up with, and we'll keep pushing and moving forward.”