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GP Week : Issue 178
DUCATI – NO LIGHT YET TO CRT, OR NOT TO CRT? Much has changed at Ducati: new owners Audi have installed Bernhard Gobmeier at the head of the team, Rossi has gone, leaving only Nicky Hayden with any previous experience of the finicky Desmosedici. The first high-level recruit, Andrea Dovizioso, joins him in the factory Marlboro squad; the second – Ben Spies – heads the newly constituted “junior” factory team run by Pramac, with Moto2 hot-shot Andrea Iannone alongside. So far, the same level of change has not reached the bike. The Desmos languished at the wrong end of the top ten in testing, with riders old and new singing the same song as last year: understeer and a too-sudden bottom-end response, in spite of some improvements wrought both electronically and in shifting the fuel tank more amidships. At the team launch Gobmeier promised a softly-softly approach: evolution rather than revolution. This will require extreme patience from the riders, not to mention sponsors Marlboro. Unless, as most people expect, there is a great deal more work going on behind the scenes. It remains to be seen if the CRT battle attracts more interest in its second and sort-of final year: it is likely to be between Aspar team-mates Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet, with maybe some fun from ex-Ducati rider Hector Barbera and one or two others. Next year, supposedly, one-million-euro factory lease bikes or engines will come on stream, and the down-beat production-based CRT bikes will no longer be required to add numbers to the grid. 38 GPWEEK.com // 38 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> FEATURE