The Ducati Team wrapped up a difficult season today at Spain’s Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana, with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso finishing in eighth and ninth places, respectively, on a day that saw Marc Marquez crowned 2013 MotoGP World Champion.
Hayden, in his final race with the Ducati Team after a five-year stint, had a bad start from his fourth-row grid slot aboard his Desmosedici GP13, but he made several overtakes in the early going and passed the chequered flag in eighth position. Row-three starter Dovizioso was involved in a near-race-long battle with fellow Ducati rider Andrea Iannone and after getting the better of that contest, he finished the race one spot behind his American teammate. Dovizioso and Hayden finished eighth and ninth overall in the final championship standings.
After starting from the seventeenth spot on the grid, Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro was 18th at the end of lap 1, but he pushed hard for the rest of the 30-lap race and completed the day rounding out the top ten.
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 8th
“The start wasn’t very good, as the same thing happened as in Japan, but I was able to make up some places and finish in eighth place. It’s not a great result, but it was nice to finish the race as first Ducati rider. For a while, I thought maybe I could get on the back of Bradley [Smith] as I cut the 3 second gap in half but then I had a moment coming off the last corner and hit the windscreen. He went faster after that anyway, so that was it. It’s pretty emotional. I spent five years with a great group of guys, and although it hasn’t always been easy, we were a good team together. I wish them all the best.”
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 9th
“It was a pretty disappointing and slow race for me. I had no feeling; this track continues to be difficult for me, and I just didn’t do very well. Nicky was good though, and once he was gone, I tried to base my race strategy around Iannone. All things considered, eighth place overall isn’t too bad, but these obviously aren’t the positions that we want and we’ll approach the 2014 season with confidence and determination.”
Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team, 10th
“It was a tough race because apart from the fact that I haven’t raced for two months, 30 laps here is very difficult. I just regret that my crash yesterday compromised my grid position, and instead of starting close to Andrea and Nicky, I was two rows behind them. In the early laps, I found myself in eighteenth place. I ruined the tyre when I started battling with the others. I made up a bit of ground, but the other riders were still far away. Thanks to Ducati for the opportunities they have given me this season; I’m sure we’ll do some great things in 2014.”
The 2014 season gets underway tomorrow with the start of the first winter tests and the Ducati Team will be on track for three days of testing activity with Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, Ducati’s new signing. The test will also mark the first official Ducati appearance of Luigi Dall’Igna, who was recently appointed Ducati Corse General Manager.
“Today’s race brings to an end a 2013 season that for Ducati has been particularly short on satisfaction,” declared Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, at the end of the race. “Tomorrow we’ll begin with the first tests of the 2014 season, with a new structure headed by Luigi Dall’Igna, to whom I would like to give a warm welcome and offer best wishes, both on a personal level and on behalf of the entire company. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank and say goodbye to Bernhard Gobmeier, who has managed Ducati Corse in the last ten months, and who today hands over the baton, so to speak, to Gigi. Big thanks also go to the teams and the riders, in particular to Nicky, who will leave his team and his garage this evening to tackle a new professional challenge, but who in these last few years has always been a proud ambassador for our brand throughout the world. And finally I give a warm welcome to Cal who will join Andrea on our team next year. Both riders will do their utmost to help us forget the disappointments we have suffered in the last few seasons.”
“We are delighted to welcome on board Luigi Dall’Igna, who will be at the circuit from Monday onwards for the first tests of 2014,” declared Maurizio Arrivabene, Vice-President of Philip Morris International. “Obviously we cannot consider ourselves satisfied with the results we have obtained recently, but we have been alongside Ducati for the definition of the new racing structure. We did it with continuing confidence in the project, in a spirit of total and constructive collaboration, with the aim of working together towards a future of mutual satisfaction.”