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Sepang MotoGP Test: Dall’Igna begins reshaping Ducati

“At the moment the paper is completely clean, until the third race” - Gigi Dall'Igna, Ducati.
On the final day of the opening Sepang test, new Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall'Igna gave an insight into his philosophy for transforming the factory's MotoGP fortunes.

Formerly technical and sporting director of Aprilia Racing, Dall'Igna has been appointed to correct Ducati's struggling MotoGP project.

Winner of the Riders', Constructors' and Teams' titles in 2007, Ducati was left without a podium last season and hasn't taken a race victory since Casey Stoner's departure at the end of 2010.

Dall'Igna made clear that he will not be making any snap decisions regarding major design changes to the Desmosedici and predicts it will take until the third race to gather all the information he needs.

“Everything in the end is an evolution of the previous model. So for sure the future of Ducati comes from this [2014] bike,” said the Italian.

“I will analyse the data of all the tests and races and, in my opinion, after the third race I hope to have all the information that I need to think about something new.

“Because I have to learn the people and I have to learn the bike. At the moment the paper is completely clean, until the third race.”

Ducati finished the opening test of 2014 with the seventh fastest lap time courtesy of Andrea Dovizioso, who was 0.837s slower than Honda's world champion Marc Marquez.

Encouragingly, both Dovizioso and new factory team signing Cal Crutchlow favoured the GP14 over last year's machine.

“We simply put some of my ideas on the bike,” said Dall'Igna, when asked how much he had been able to influence the GP14 since his November arrival.

“That means set-up. Some things different in all areas. Some ideas were good, some bad. Like always. Now we have to understand why some ideas were bad and change them for next time. This is the normal job of racing!”

Dall'Igna emphasised that success will ultimately come from the people working at Ducati and that, as such, the biggest changes so far have been in terms of organisation.

“I need time to understand the people, because the people have to do the job. Not me,” he declared. “Only one new person has been employed since November.

“I have changed the organisation because for me the connection between race track and house [factory] is not good enough. Maybe this is the reason why they changed a lot [on the bike in the past] but at the end, nothing...

“Frankly speaking this test helped me to understand that we improved the organisation a little bit from that point of view. Now the people at the track understand very well the philosophy of the modifications, so they can play with the new parts in the right way.

“The people at the track have to understand the problems, why some modifications didn't help and gather the data. Then in Ducati Corse in Bologna they have to develop the new parts, new ideas and new concepts.

“The key people that I have at the track will also be the same key people that I have at the factory, so the connection is [joined].”

As part of that process, a rotation system is planned to send factory staff to the races.

“I did this in the past. This is for me the best solution to properly develop the bike,” said Dall'Igna. “In my opinion this was not happening enough in the past.

“Now the people at the track know everything about what the people at home are doing. Communication is always important. Not only in racing.”

The biggest unknown surrounding Ducati at the moment is whether they will switch all - or at least more - of their MotoGP entries from the Factory to Open class.

An official verdict is due before the end of this month. Dall'Igna insisted nothing had yet been decided - but spelt out the difficulties of developing a bike under the increasingly restrictive Factory rules.

Something Dall'Igna was certain about is that main sponsor Marlboro would not be troubled by an Open class move, should that be considered the best way forward.

“The relationship with Marlboro is very good. We will discuss together. But at the end this is a technical issue. I think for Marlboro, like for Ducati, the most important thing is to develop the bike to go for the positions that brands like Marlboro and Ducati have to achieve.”

In terms of his own targets, Dall'Igna has just one main goal: “For me the most important thing this year is to see progress.”

The second Sepang test takes place from February 26-28.

Tagged as: Ducati

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February 15, 2014 3:27 PM

The former CEO of Ducati, Gabriele Del Torchio, (replaced April 2013 after 5 years in the job) had a background as a CEO running companies in industries such as luxury boats, auto parts and systems, local utilities, and concrete handling. 4 exec jobs in 9 years. for 8 years before that, he was CEO of a tractor company that was taken over by Komatsu. Doubtless, he had business knowledge, and probably takeover knowledge, but not much motorcycle business knowledge, and limited interest in motorcycle racing. The new CEO, Claudio Domenicali, has more than 20 years at Ducati, and is an internal promotion. There is much greater chance of Gigi getting support from Domencali than his predecessor. At least Domencali is more likely to understand what Gigi says. There is hope for Ducati again, but there's a lot of work to do before any results will appear.

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