15 Aug 2012

EXCLUSIVE - Ducati in 2013 - Dovizioso and the satellite bikes

The fact that Valentino Rossi is leaving Ducati is now a matter of public record.  Indeed The Doctor himself recently posted on twitter - "It's been a shame that I have not been able to be competitive with Ducati.  It would give me great satisfaction as well as the the guys who have worked with me and who will be there right to the end.  And it would have been great fun for all our fans.  I am sorry.  But there are still 8 races to the end of the season - we are working to the maximum to make some great races.  Ciao to everyone and see you at Indy"

There now is the matter of Ducati's Rossi-less future which we recently wrote about here.

In that article we speculated on various matters which we won't rehash except to say that all signs from inside and outside the factory are that Rossi's direct replacement will be Andrea Dovizioso.  We hear from a Ducati insider that the announcement will be made before the Indianapolis weekend - which means it will be Thursday or Friday this week.

The Dovizioso deal is expected to last for two years and was subject to certain conditions made by him regarding support and input from Audi which have, apparently, now been received.

Dovizioso's signing is not necessarily a popular one with all of Ducati.  Many of the team harbour resentment from when he spoke ill of the bike and the teams ability to develop it for more than the one rider in recent years who has been able to control it - Casey Stoner.

Part of Ducati's 2013 strategy is the bringing in-house of the satellite bikes.  Much has been written on the subject but we can exclusively reveal that the two satellite bikes will be essentially the same as the factory bikes but with a different ECU at the beginning of the season and a 5 race gap between parts from the factory bikes to the satellites.  Ducati are partially staffing the satellite teams themselves with 10 Ducati Corse staff working for them.

Current favourites for the satellite rides are Scott Redding, who massively impressed the team at his recent test, and Andrea Iannone, who fits the Italian bill but was described as 'crazy' on his test.

Hopefully Ducati can develop the bike with it's new riders, as well as Nicky Hayden, into a competitive machine for 2013 and beyond.  And hopefully the Corse staff can learn to get on with their new star signing.