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With Four New Factory Bikes, and a New German Boss, Ducati Readies Itself for 2013 Campaign

Ducati is wrapping up its Wrooom event high in the snowy Trentino Dolomites, and has unveiled all four factory Ducatis that will campaign the 2013 MotoGP championship.

With distinct livery for the two Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, as well as the Pramac Racing Team consisting of riders Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies, Ducati seems to be entering the 2013 campaign with great determination. All four riders will have access to full factory-supported Desmosedici GP13 bikes, pictured here in the livery of each team.

A new German boss takes the helm of Ducati Corse, and this will undoubtedly facilitate communication with German parent Audi. Bernhard Gobmeier most recently spearheaded BMW’s WSB effort, but he has experience with four wheelers, as well. Speaking during a press conference at Wrooom, Gobmeier described his new environment and challenges thusly:

“I’m very satisfied,” declared Gobmeier. “Firstly, the way the company welcomed me was overwhelming and I felt like being introduced to a big family. The first impressions on the human side were exceptional and this will of course will help to create a good motivational basis for working together, allowing us to dedicate all of our resources towards the brand, the company and the project.

“The challenge that lies ahead is a big one and everybody is curious as to what we are going to do to close the gap to our rivals. We must work in a lot of different areas where we can make the difference. We have already made some positive changes to the team structure, and we have some ideas for the development of the bike. I prefer to speak about evolution rather than revolution and with this in mind first we want to evaluate the material developed in the second half of last year. I think that with this approach we can improve the performance of the bike in the short term but we are also working on new solutions which down the road in 2013 will be implemented into the race bike.

“We also have a second squad, the factory-supported Pramac Racing Team with two additional riders, which will help us to gather more information and input for development. Michele Pirro is our new test rider and he will have wild-card rides in three races. So overall I think we are well settled in terms of personnel and the technology we have, so I am confident about the future.

“It is of course too early to think about results. We have to wait for the first tests where we are going to try new things and give the riders the chance to get comfortable with the bike. I am sure that with the additional information from our riders and the know-how that we have within the personnel and engineering staff in Ducati, we will improve quite quickly. Our aim this year is to once again fight for podiums.”

Ducati has struggled a long time in MotoGP, and it is hard to describe the recent efforts of Valentino Rossi and his crew as fruitful. Nevertheless, with four factory bikes on the grid next year, and five very fast riders (including test rider Michele Pirro, who will also take the grid in three races), Ducati might be in a position to push the development of its bike very rapidly. Perhaps the Italian/German mix in place will shake things up in a good way. Time will tell, but Ducati’s strong presence next year will make MotoGP all the more interesting to watch.

18 Comments

  1. Brian says:

    so they want to be competitive.
    They scheduled their winter testing in Spain, where the weather is typically rainy? not the best planning if they wanted to get some quality testing in is it?
    Hopefully management makes a few other critical decisions with better judgement…

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  2. OneWhoKnoas says:

    Ben was pretty much immune to everything when he was teamed with the brutally competitive and abrasive Matt Mladin, maybe living the good life on Lake Como took the fire out of his belly.

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  3. Craig Jackman says:

    Since there has been exactly ONE competitive Ducati MotoGP rider in the past decade … and he’s retired now … I won’t be holding my breath. On the other hand it will probably be a good race between the 4 to see who’s going to finish 8th as the top non-Honda/Yamaha. Or if they are racing with the CRT bikes again.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “On the other hand it will probably be a good race between the 4 to see who’s going to finish 8th as the top non-Honda/Yamaha. Or if they are racing with the CRT bikes again.”

      more like who’s going to be racing ON crt bikes.

      (and then there were 2)

      if were to hazard a guess, i’d say they have no intentions of running 4 factory bikes forever and their lack of changes are deliberate.

      they are not competing against honda/yamaha at this point… unbeknownst to the riders they have been put in competion against EACH OTHER (standard corporate procedure). right now there are 2 italians too many and 2 americans too many. it’s a shakeout to see which gringo and which italian “advance to the lightning round”.

      the 2 men left standing will form the factory team and THEIR feedback will be used to develop the kit to it’s winning form. russians don’t take a dump without a plan and german austerity doesn’t spend money willy-nilly. before they open the purse strings they need to figure out which “driver” (remember they’re from car world) has data they can trust.

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    • Roberto says:

      I’d have to call Capirossi’s 2006 season competitive:

      Seas Class Moto Team Race Win Pod Pole FLap Pts Plcd
      2006 MotoGP DucatiGP6 Ducati 17 3 8 2 5 229 3rd

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  4. Roberto says:

    “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…” ???

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  5. Norm G. says:

    re: “Firstly, the way the company welcomed me was overwhelming and I felt like being introduced to a big family. The first impressions on the human side were exceptional and this will of course will help to create a good motivational basis for working together”

    yup, motivation through fear. it’s amazing what the thought of termination from a job you worked at for more than a decade by a new owner can accomplish.

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  6. Ricardo says:

    Audi has a very successful car racing team, I am sure this experience will transalte to the Ducati racing teams to improve the teams and the bikes. I think Rossi jumped the gun too early, I see Spies and Hayden getting a lot of attention as well as the other two rider Ianonne and Dovi which need capable teams to be succesful with Ducati.

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  7. ROXX says:

    I wish them well but don’t see them getting the bike’s handling issues totally correct until they abandon the 90 degree V engine architecture.
    Seems like the narrow angle engine Honda uses allows for better weight centralization.

    Either way I wish them well and will still be rooting for Ben.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I wish them well but don’t see them getting the bike’s handling issues totally correct until they abandon the 90 degree V engine architecture.”

      omg, somebody strap me in a wheelchair and push me down a flight o’ steps already.

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    • Dave says:

      Suzuki used a 60-65* angle and for most of the past 10 years Ducati has finished better than them. That dimension is not so critical to performance, otherwise the Yamaha would be unbeatable.

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  8. Norm G. says:

    IGNITE… hmmnn, let’s hope that word stays limited to the world of sponsorship and doesn’t go on to be fodder for creative headlines during the season, or a TAG for numerous post-crash photographs seen ’round the world. CEII knows what i’m talkin’ ’bout willis.

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  9. chris says:

    That Ignite/Pramac bike for Spies looks so damn tough, he has to be excited mounting up on such a spectacular looking GP bike, hope it makes him feel fasterrrrrrrrrrr

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  10. Brinskee says:

    I agree. It will be interesting to watch. It will be interesting to see where each of the riders end up in qualifying (as well as each race) compared to the rest of the pack and each other. We know what Spies and Dovi are capable of, so let’s see how they compare to Hayden (who knows the bike the best). Two americans, two italians, and a german boss? Why not? I wonder if they have the goal of getting at least one podium this season?

    Thinking about planning a trip to Mugello now…

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  11. HotDog says:

    I sure hope Ben doesn’t get his feelings hurt by someone in management pressing him for results. I didn’t think that I’d ever want a sensitive introvert to succeed, but we all want to see Ben win. A good ass chewing has always motivated me but maybe I should have just quit. Audi best smooth his tender feathers to get the best out of him.

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    • MGNorge says:

      “Ass chewing” seemed to always lower my respect for the chewer unless I had it coming to me. There are other ways to motivate people. Unless for the money, I would never be able to work for people that chew my ass as a way to motivate.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I didn’t think that I’d ever want a sensitive introvert to succeed”

      wait, how does a TDC (total dikk comment) out of management given the unprecedented bike issues he had last year (note, a few the year before that as well) mean ben’s a “sensitive introvert”…? did you watch the season…? if ben were to quip back with “well i’ve lost faith in YOUR ability to keep a friggin’ bike from falling apart under me at 200mph”, would that then brand him an insensitive jerk…? or at that moment would he have simply been speaking truth to power…?

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    • HotDog says:

      BS! He rolled over and showed his soft underbelly. He should’ve sucked it up and taken his medicine standing up. He quit at a embarrassing time for Yamaha, at least they were accomidating to the end. I don’t want a “Choir Boy” mentality on a fire breathing machine but a rough and tumble professional twisting the wick. Oh poor Ben, I hope nobody looks at him wrong.

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