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GP Week : Issue 46
>>Moto GPnews Staff switch to help Hayden THE Marlboro Ducati team have given second rider Nicky Hayden a new crew chief from Le Mans onwards, in an attempt to solve his continuing difficulties at getting the same sort of performance out of the Desmosedici as team-mate Stoner. Hayden had already spoken of communication problems and having to cut back on his Kentucky slang earlier in the season. Now his old crew chief Christian Pupulin has been switched exclusively to data interpretation duties, while former Ducati employee Juan Martinez has been employed to take over in charge of Nicky’s side of the garage. Spaniard Martinez was Gibernau’s crew chief in 2006 for his year of Ducati, moving on to Kawasaki when Gibernau left the team. Previously he had held the same position with Gibernau when he rode for Honda. Martinez speaks better English than Italian Pupulin, and Hayden reported an immediate better understanding and a better rapport also with the machine, after Martinez had suggested experimenting with different tyre combinations. “It’s not like he’s going to just rub the screen and fix everything, but we’ve started out understanding each other better. I can talk at a more normal speed,” he said. Pupulin has been with Ducati from the start in MotoGP, and continues in a senior position, according to project director Livio Suppo. “We have no doubt that Pipi (the team’s nickname) is a good crew chief – Capirossi finished third in the championship when he worked with him. He is also the only team engineer who goes back to Bologna after each race to consult with Felipe Preziosi (design chief). “But he has always been doing two jobs, also running the data logging, and now we have five bikes on the track, so he has more work.” 1