Davide Tardozzi – Q&A.

As I am sure you are aware, there is considerable controversy over the use of the 1098 in the championship, not least because of Bayliss' dominance of the series so far. With that in mind, is the defining factor the Ducati bike, or Bayliss himself do you think?

Bayliss is dominating the championship, not the bike. The package is good and better than before. I think I am right in believing our bike has the most original road bike parts than any other Superbike. That means the bike is a very, very good road bike. Although Bayliss is leading the championship, the next best Ducati is Ruben Xaus in sixth and before him there are two Yamahas, one Suzuki and one Honda, which means the four-cylinders are really competitive. It is obvious the four-cylinder still has a slight advantage at the moment, because Troy is keeping the advantage he built up at the start of the year when the four-cylinder seemed to be struggling more. The Honda was brand-new, Yamaha were making mistakes and Suzuki were looking for a new hero in Neukirchner… so there are lot of reasons behind these situations. Nobody is complaining any more now because they aren't stupid and they realise they do have a competitive bike.
Were you expecting the 1098 to be so fast so quickly this season, particularly as Honda seem to be struggling a bit with their new bike?

We had three really good races at the start of the year, but you have to remember that there were three races at Monza, Miller and Nurburgring and in those three races, the four-cylinder was performing well. In the first three races we worked out we were five points ahead, but in the following three they were seven points ahead of us. So if you consider those three races, the four-cylinder is much quicker than us on fast tracks. We are competitive in tight corners because of our torque and handling but when there is only power to put on the table, then their energy is there. Therefore, the difference for us is the rider.
Although Troy has a good lead, where do you expect his closest competition for the title to come from over the remainder of the season?

I think Troy will be competitive, with Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser too because the Yamaha will be very fast in the next two rounds. We will be there trying to win, but we will at least try and be on the podium without taking too many risks. I don't expect a tenth place from Troy, but there is a lot that could happen in the next few rounds. We are leading by 79 points, so we don't have to take too many risks.
When are you planning to confirm your riders for next season?

We will start to talk after Brands and we will try to have a decision by September.
Are you looking for one or two new riders?

We have two places free. Michel has an option and it is possible that we are going to renew because Michel is performing very well and he is in pole position so far. The truth is, he doesn't have the contract yet but we have to do something because the guy is growing all the time.
If you could have anyone replacing Troy, who would it be? Who has caught your eye?

Nobody in the world can replace Troy 360 degrees. He has such a great relationship with us, our fans… everybody likes him, not just Ducati fans. And he is fast, which means we can't replace him with someone who can probably get the same results. My favourite is Chris Vermuelen though. We have approached him but he is still under contract with Suzuki and it looks like they are trying to keep him after the last two results. I think the chances are pretty slim now.
World Superbikes appear to be in rude health at the moment, with BMW and maybe Aprilia set to join next year. What do you expect their effect to be?

I expect they will bring a lot of attention to the championship because, for the first time, they have a factory effort involved in the world championship. They do a bit of endurance but now they're stepping in the championship to try and win. They will be competitive soon and I expect they will fight for the championship in the next two years.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Tardozzi, Brno WSBK 2008
Chaz Davies, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Ducati team, Race1, Imola WSBK 2017
Brembo calipers on Ducati, Thai WSBK 2017
Akrapovic on Ducati, Thai WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale engine, Thai WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale front end, Thai WSBK 2017
Rea, Bayliss, Superpole, Australian WSBK, 2017
Sykes, Bayliss, Superpole, Australian WSBK, 2017
Melandri, Bayliss, Superpole, Australian WSBK, 2017
Fores` Ducati, Australian WSBK, 2017. Photo courtesy of WorldSBK
Davies` Ducati, Australian WSBK, 2017. Photo courtesy of WorldSBK
Melandri`s Ducati, Australian WSBK, 2017. Photo courtesy of WorldSBK
Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]
Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri, Ducati [Credit: Ducati Media]

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