Can Ducati really rule the racing world again?
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!