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GP Week : Issue 190
couple of things. We have this weekend [at Misano] a new engine upgrade on the bike, and we are quite pleased with that. “Also on the electronic side we made some steps forward. But the electronics cannot fix everything. “We also made some progress in terms of the chassis. As you know, one of the big complaints of our riders was always the lack of feel, especially for the front. That we cured. “We see it very much with Pirro, who we have to put sometimes on Ben Spies’s bike, which is the old bike, and on this bike you can see that there is always quite a big difference in his performance, when he is jumping back and forth ... mainly due to the improved feeling on the new frame. “The other area we did improve is on the life-span and durability of the tyres. This was always one of our Achilles heels, because we worked the tyre quite a lot, and you saw at the end of the race the performance went down. That we improved a bit, not totally, but we see an improvement there. “We are still not happy with another deficit of our bike, the understeering behaviour. That is still something we have to do. This seems to be the predominant factor. You said at the start of the year that you be looking at evolution not revolution. Has that been the right way? We could not, during the season, just throw everything overboard and start over. There we were not prepared, and also there is some danger when you change everything totally then you lose some time. We need to utilise the winter to make such a step. so can we expect something big next year? An all-new Desmosedici? We are certainly redesigning the complete bike, and looking at every angle, from the data, the information we have gained this season. Nicky Hayden recently commented that Ducati had abandoned its independent ideas to follow convention, and that he had been fastest on the carbon-fibre chassis, which was then dropped. Might you go back to it? I was not here when the carbon-fibre chassis was tested, but ... we know now much more about the stiffness parameters and the stiffness influence on the behaviour of the bike. The carbon-fibre was a big, big step from the previous chassis, and one thing we could see was that even a guy like Casey Stoner, who was capable of managing the bike, even he had some problems with it. Because of mainly lack of feeling – and that is always the danger. When you don’t feel what the bike is doing, you might be faster on one or two or three laps, because the chassis was very precise for changing direction. But for the feeling, especially the feeling for the front, which was always criticised by every rider in the past, we have to attack with different technical measures. We are in a good way of addressing this. I don’t say we are there, but we have some progress. Will we see the carbon-fibre or the mini- chassis again? Not that I know of. I don’t see that. How has the race department restructuring helped? My philosophy is the structure should be an automatic system to make the work easier. That is the only way it helps. If you make a structure around people or ideas ... it never works. It must be around a certain work flow, and a certain work process. We did a first step within Ducati. We still need to readjust a couple of things, but overall it works good. We have here on the track a well-organised group now, and also in the factory. We have better communication between the two. I think all of this has improved, but we have to continue working on it. Were your working methods a big culture shock for Ducati? Yes, but on the other side everybody said: it makes sense. There was not a big resistance on anything. We hear rumours of disorganised testing, discarded parts being retested, that sort of thing. It is correct that we retested a couple of things that were ruled out in the past, and we saw that sometimes they were ruled out too early, and some of it we could bring back and it worked. Maybe by a different testing procedure or structure. Of course testing is always a fine line between on the one side being very structured, but on the other side you have to allow room for bigger changes. Of course a lot of people talk in this paddock, and it is always easier for outsiders and even insiders to talk when they don’t agree on certain things. When you don’t make bigger steps you only stand still, but if you don’t do the tests in a structured way then you can lose direction. So it is always a combination of the two things. Some people understand and agree with us, some don’t. That’s life. You must have had goals and objectives when you joined. How many have you met? How satisfied are you? My personal expectations were higher, to be honest. On the other side I knew it would be a very, very big challenge. The guys before me, they were also very smart guys. They tried a lot, and they made some progress and steps which made sense. It was clear to me that it would be very difficult at this level to catch up within eight months, when we are still working on certain things. That is for sure impossible. Although when we saw some good positive results, then went further in this direction, the results were getting worse without exactly knowing why. So it is a mixed resume. MOTOGP >>> FEATUrE 28 GPWEEK.com // 28 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: