Can Du­cati re­ally rule the rac­ing world again?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment -

It’s taken time (quite a lot of it), money (a very lot of it) and hard work (tons of it)... but Du­cati have bat­tled back from Mo­togp flop to top of the crop.

When Valentino Rossi walked away from Du­cati af­ter a dis­as­trous two years in 2012, many thought the Bologna firm was done and dusted in the premier class. But ma­jor changes and an in­cred­i­ble com­mit­ment to the cause have fi­nally paid off. And the work that’s got them back to the pin­na­cle of the sport, should bear them in good stead for the near fu­ture.

Whole­sale changes to the com­pany’s rac­ing set-up in 2013, mas­ter­minded by new Team Man­ager Gigi Dall’igna, have made a mas­sive dif­fer­ence as has Audi’s own­er­ship – and re­sources.

Du­cati now has eight ma­chines on the grid and Dall’igna ad­mits how much dif­fer­ence hav­ing so much data has made. The semi-fac­tory teams were run­ning the ‘ Dorna’ elec­tron­ics last year, so the fac­tory team hit the ground run­ning this year, when the soft­ware was adopted by ev­ery­one. And hav­ing so much in­for­ma­tion helps at ev­ery race when teams are chas­ing the ideal set-up and tyre com­bi­na­tion. This stuff doesn’t hap­pen by chance.

Casey Stoner may have still been win­ning in 2010, but the writ­ing was re­ally al­ready on the wall for Du­cati. Even Stoner ad­mit­ted that funds and de­ci­sions were flow­ing slowly when he left at the end of 2010.

But with Audi’s in­vest­ment in 2012, things have slowly got bet­ter. And Stoner him­self has been another piece in the jig­saw. Re­join­ing Du­cati as a test rider his abil­ity to ride at a sim­i­lar (or faster) pace than the full-time rid­ers has sped up de­vel­op­ment of the GP16. And the win could have, should have, come sooner.

Some ‘ in­ter­est­ing’ rider de­ci­sions and bad luck have de­layed the in­evitable win and now it looks like Du­cati can se­ri­ously mix it at the front on a more reg­u­lar ba­sis. And with reign­ing world cham­pion Jorge Lorenzo join­ing Du­cati in 2017, a world Mo­togp ti­tle is once again a re­al­is­tic tar­get – as long as it doesn’t rain too much next year!

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