Team orders at Ducati?

Like it or not, team orders are a part of motorsport and - most feel - understandable when one rider is battling for a world championship that his team-mate no longer has a mathematical chance of winning.

Some might say it's the price a rider must be prepared to pay for scoring less points than their team-mate, with the same bike.

For Yamaha the situation heading into this weekend's penultimate round of the 2009 World Superbike Championship at Magny-Cours is clear - Ben Spies sits just three points behind title leader Noriyuki Haga while his team-mate Tom Sykes is only eighth and long ruled out of the title fight.

Unfortunately for Spies and Yamaha, Sykes has been unable to threaten Haga and third title contender Michel Fabrizio, making the question of team orders at Yamaha academic.

But Ducati faces a far more complicated problem.

Haga is by far their best chance of title success, with Fabrizio 61 points behind Haga, but with 100 points still undecided the young Italian has a clear mathematical chance - and, as proved by his race two victory over Haga at Imola, Fabrizio won't be backing off until he absolutely has to.

Ducati team manager Davide Tardozzi looked less pleased than he might at a home double victory by his riders after race two on Sunday, prompting speculation that Fabrizio may have ignored team orders to claim only his second ever WSBK victory.

However, these are Fabrizio's words just a few days before Imola:

"At Imola I'm going to go on fighting my own battle, and then we'll see how Nori and I are placed... I'll perhaps change my strategy for the last two races, if need be, in order to assist Nori,” he stated.

That would seem to confirm that, despite Tardozzi's post-race reaction, there were no 'official' team orders at Imola, but could well be at at Magny-Cours or Portimao.

Heading into this weekend's race Fabrizio avoided the issue, talking only of aiming for the podium.

“I must admit I've never felt very comfortable at Magny-Cours and you can see this by looking at the results,” he said. “This season, however, I've had some much better results and so will be looking to continue the trend with two more podium finishes in France.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Spies, Haga ,Fabrizio, Spanish WSBK Race 2 2009
Ducati pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Yamaha pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Yamaha pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Yamaha pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Yamaha pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Spies, WSBK Race1, Misano WSBK 2017
Spies, WSBK Race1, Misano WSBK 2017
Sykes and Spies, Misano WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea and Spies, Misano WSBK 2017
Melandri and Spies, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale engine, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale bikes, Misano WSBK 2017
Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Pata Yamaha]

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blade1000 - Unregistered

September 30, 2009 11:48 AM

For Fabrizio to win the championship both Spies and Haga have to have 2 nightmare race meetings. The chances of that happening are small to zero. If you are 60 points behind one person you never know what might happen but 2 people no ways. Fabrizio is riding for himself and a TEAM. It's time to stop thinking of himself and work now for the Team. He has a job with them next year. Imagine if Haga and Ducati loose the championship by 4 points.

Matafuko - Unregistered

September 30, 2009 11:14 AM

Fab is not out of the championship, he can still win it so in my opinion, there should be no team orders but I believe - unfortunately - there will be this weekend. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Haga fan and want him to win the championship, but if Fabrizio can still win it too, then why should he help Haga? Strange things do happen and what if Haga and Spies crash out while battling and Fab scoops up points left, right and center? OK, I don't envisage that but it's a possibility. Until team-mates are mathematically out of the championship, there should be no team orders.

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