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GP Week : Issue 184
MOTOGP >>> nEWs at BrIEFly » Revered Australian technical guru Warren Willing has joined the Ducati Corse team at the factory’s Borgo Panigale headquarters, in the quest to return the red bikes to the winning circle under new owners Audi. Willing described the task as “an interesting challenge”, pointing out that though the bikes were only a few tenths off, those tenths are the hardest to find. Willing’s own racing career was ended by a near-crippling crash; he turned to engineering and has worked with Yamaha, Suzuki and Team Roberts during some of their best years. » Nicky Hayden is preparing for post-season surgery to fix the right hand problem that refuses to get better, showing up as painfully swollen after each day’s riding. The 2006 champion makes light of the effect on his riding, but after a wealth of conflicting medical opinions is now expecting post-season surgery to remove the recently inserted pin. “It’s the scaphoid, and I have a pin in the other scaphoid with no problems . . . but it’s something that’s been suggested,” he said. » Scott Redding won his second Moto2 race at Mugello two weeks after taking his maiden victory – stretching his points lead to almost 50 and underlining his supporters’ claims he is ready for MotoGP. According to his Marc VDS team boss Michael Bartholemy, also his manager, if he can’t find a good ride for Redding in the top class next year, the team is prepared to move up with him, “although our main aim was always to help young riders up the ladder”. Ducati’s Italian GP runners were joined by former GP and later superbike great Max Biaggi at Mugello for three days of testing in the week after the GP. For team top scorer Andrea Dovizioso and factory companion Nicky Hayden, it was a serious first chance to try the latest development “lab bike” , as raced to seventh by Pirro. Multiple 250 and Superbike World Champion Biaggi’s aims were concealed by a “just-for-fun” smoke- screen. But his reported lap times were some way short of being able to add much in the way of development, as he re-adapted to MotoGP tyres, carbon brakes and chassis handling. Dovizioso reported encouragement but not salvation from the development hack, which has different weight distribution and chassis stiffness, with a pronounced dog-leg at the rear of the chassis compared with the standard item’s straighter and thicker beam. “This bike has more room for development,” he told Italian website GPOne.com, after running a best lap of 1’48.2, half-a -second better than his best race time. But he struck a cautionary note, adding: “The real tests are those where there is also competition.” He suggested he might consider running the new chassis next weekend at Montmelo, but said: “It’s not an easy choice, and there may not be time to prepare components for two bikes each.” The new chassis improved corner entry slightly, but the bike still moved too much on corner exit. “It’s nothing amazing. It’s different, it gives more confidence, but the problems of the bike remain the same,” he concluded. Hayden’s official statement was even less enthusiastic. “This laboratory bike has some positives, but at the moment, the lap time is very similar to our current bike. Hopefully these days will help the engineers to learn something.” Biaggi resorted to social media to report slow but steady progress, with a major leap in technique from his World Superbike. Re-adjusting to carbon brakes was the first big hurdle, while the control Bridgestone tyres are very different from anything he has used in the past. Biaggi scored 42 GP wins in 250, 500 and MotoGP classes between 1992 and 2004, and won four consecutive 250 titles, then in 2010 and 2012 won World Superbikes title twice for Aprilia. He was given the ride on Spies’s bike “because of the respect and esteem Ducati has for him” , saida spokesman. DUCATI TESTS 'LAB' BIKE AT MUGELLO Development bike shows promise; Biaggi joins the team 15 GPWEEK.com // 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: