Davide Tardozzi has given a frank and open interview to Crash.net
regarding this year's impressive title offensive, the impending retirement of Troy Bayliss and his plans for Xerox Ducati in the near future.
Look out for our Q&A with the first ever World Superbike race winner this week ahead of the British round of the championship at Brands Hatch, but in the meantime we decided to throw some names at Mr Tardozzi to try and get an idea of the answer to the question of every World Superbike fans' lips – who will replace Troy Bayliss in 2009…?
Michel Fabrizio – Foot in the Door
“Michel is performing very well. He is still only 23 and this is his first year to be with a team that helps him to grow. I think he will be one of the top riders of the future and I really think he deserves his place.”
Niccoló Canepa – The Protégé
“Niccoló is a touch back from Michel in terms of experience. He is a talented guy and he shows a lot of potential, so I think he will be with us – but I don't know which championship.”
Max Biaggi – The Popular Stalwart
“Max is one of the guys that we think could replace Troy. This year he had a fantastic start and showed how strong he is, but he had some problems that weren't his mistakes. We are really looking forward to see what he will be doing at Brands Hatch.”
Jakub Smrz – Future Star
“Jakub is one of the guys who is under our eyes. We think he is still a bit inexperienced because to be among the top riders you need to perform all year and Jakub is showing this only sometimes. We were happy though that his team has decided to renew with Jakub and we told him that we are looking forward to him being with Ducati.”
Lorenzo Lanzi – Another Chance?
“Lorenzo showed us something n the past, but now he is in a bit of trouble. Sometimes he is fast, but sometimes we can't understand why he is not performing. We'd like him to be with Ducati, after his fantastic win at Valencia, but sometimes I don't know why he disappears.”
Shane Byrne – Britain's answer to Bayliss?
“Shane is one of the guys on our list. We were really looking forward to see him at Brands as a wild-card, but his team took the decision not to race because the schedule is very tight and they didn't want to take any risks. But he is an experienced guy and showing he is riding the Ducati the perfect way. He could be one of the guys because he is definitely on our list.”
Ben Spies – The Outsider
“Ben is a huge question mark. It is true that he is a fast guy, but we don't know his real level. The first year he'd have a lot of new race tracks to learn. It would be a risk because he could be fast in the first year but there would be around 13 new race tracks for him and it will take time to learn. It is difficult to think he could fight for the championship that way.”
Along with Chris Vermeulen (see separate story), Tardozzi believes next year's Xerox Ducati riders will come from this list. But do you think he is overlooking someone? Leave a comment and tell us your dream Xerox Ducati line-up for 2009.