Today the pair of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden were revealed as the official Ducati riders for 2013, and both have been speaking at the Ducati Wrooom event in the Italian mountains.
Dovizioso said: “I have a micro herniated C5 C6 in my neck. I had some problems in the Rally of Monza and in Jerez de la Frontera at the first corner, where it just locked up. I’m fine, even if the micro fracture is still there. It will take a bit more treating, but I’ll be ready for Malaysia. My first impression of the bike, however, was good. I expected a totally unmanageable bike after what I had been told, but it was not. At Jerez the neck problem stopped me, but now with six days in Malaysia, there will be time to figure out the Ducati.
“The objective is simple. We must work to reduce the gap. I chose this challenge because I know I can do well. I need to get to know everyone, but it is a long-term project and the first race will be less focused on the results.” When asked about method Dovi said, “It will not copy any bike. Each bike has its own philosophy and you have to find all the positives of the Desmosedici. Much will depend on what will have to change.
“We have to be open to any changes. Based on the time available, we will make the possible and necessary changes. It makes no sense to speak on a technical level yet, because I’ve spent too little time riding the Desmosedici. What is sure is that for the 2013 season we will start with the same material from the end of last year. I believe in the long term, but the first year will be special: we have to understand the bike and we will have to work mostly on MotoGP weekends. The first year there will be a lot of work where we decide what to do to get important results.”
When Dovi was asked about the outgoing Valentino Rossi he said: “Taking the place of Valentino is very special, but the fact that he has not done much with this bike helps.”
Dovizioso, who lives just 30 km from Borgo Panigale, and could head to the factory almost any time, said: “I could be a real pain to the racing department (laughs). No, seriously, to be able to work with engineers, who do not see you because they never travel, can be crucial, and will work in our favour.”
Finally, when asked about new team mate Nicky Hayden, Dovi said, “Nicky has always been a calm and correct rider. We have a similar character, and if there is a desire to work together and collaborate, I will be the first to share the information with him. He is a good person and there are not many of those riders in the world.”
After Dovi finished it was the turn of Nicky Hayden who is about to embark on his fifth season with the Italian factory team and he can’t wait to get going.
“I was in Bolognia in the past days. We don’t have a ‘new bike’ as such, it hasn’t changed a lot from last year, but we’re taking small steps. The engine rule is obviously a hindrance, but I see this year as a ‘fresh’ start.”
Hayden has taken full advantage of his limited testing opportunities this off season. “The bike in Valencia was quite similar to the one during the season, and in Jerez we worked mainly on chassis. Now we’re looking to improve the test program and we have an extra test rider. We’re working on improving the engine management and generally make little steps.”
When the Kentucky Kid was asked about crew chief “I’m very happy that Juan Martínez is staying, I wouldn’t want to switch him for any crew chief in the paddock.”
The pair will be on hand later this evening when the official unveiling of the Ducati GP13 takes place.