“No, the biggest problem we have in this moment isn’t how to fix our bike. The problem is the people that have to fix it." With this statement, Andrea Dovizioso lit the fuse in the Ducati garage in Motorland Aragón after MotoGP qualifying was over.
The Italian rider didn’t save one comma when it came to criticize the disappointing situation Ducati is going through. It all came to light when Andrea was questioned about the improvements on the Desmosedici found during the test days after the San Marino GP. “No difference, the end result was that we find nothing better than what we have. When you are tied by the limitations we have, there is nothing that can be done." Andrea added that these limitations were present since the beginning of the season and haven’t changed so far.
When asked about if he felt worried about the slow development of the future 2014 bike—Honda and Yamaha have already been testing their versions already for months while Ducati has stated that its own prototype won’t be ready to ride until February—Dovizioso opened the floodgates. “You can’t speak about the development of the 2014 Desmosedici because simply at this moment it doesn’t exist. The key point is not the bike. There are other points that needed to be fixed before the bike." Andrea stopped for some seconds, giving the impression he was thinking about whether to stop at that point or continue with his denunciation. From what he continued to say, it was clear that he chose the second option.
“I think nobody knows at this moment how to fix nothing. I have no answers and nobody has them in this moment. The problem is the people in charge of making our bike competitive; they simply don’t know how to do it."
Dovizioso‘s unmerciful complaint is a perfect picture of the situation inside Ducati’s garage. The mood is below minimum at this stage. Very little improvement has been gained during the season, and the sensation that nothing in that situation is about to change has not only frustrated their riders but also many in the rest of the team. Nicky Hayden, despite knowing that he is out at the end of the season, has been brought up to always be respectful of your employer; but Dovisioso, who has one more year on his contract with the Italian manufacturer, prefers to “shake the tree” so to speak. When we asked another anonymous member of Team Ducati if Cal Crutchlow’s arrival could mean a change, the source said with resignation: “It will happen like with Dovizioso. He will arrive with strength, with the best intentions, but his attitude will change after two months like what happened with Dovizioso."
The statements admit the disappointing situation that Ducati MotoGP is in, providing even more evidence that the technical evolution work has so far not been successful. The late start to the development program, the seemingly limited updates to the current machine—these are some of the reasons that have caused many to question Ducati’s commitment to the MotoGP project. Certainly, any statement to officially explain the situation is a very difficult task without stepping in quicksand.
“The situation is serious, but I think we have the capacity to get out of this,” explained Paolo Ciabatti, Project Director of Ducati MotoGP. “Andrea’s criticism is reasonable; there are problems which we have not been able to fix until now. We have to take the necessary decisions to increase the competence which we do not have at this moment. We also know that we are late in our next year’s bike development. I imagine that seen from the outside it’s difficult to understand what is going on, but for the moment I can’t say more than this.” So even Andrea Dovizioso is considered an external observer?
Meanwhile the big question mark continues to be: Where is Audi? The German automotive brand, now owners of Ducati, was seen as the big savior when it purchased the Italian company back in April of 2012. Technical and financial resources were expected to flow to Bologna to help Ducati recover their competitiveness, but so far nothing of that has come true.