Ducati Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti admits that the first half of 2016 has been far from kind to the team.
After nine races this year, Ducati only have four podium finishes to boast of. In what is perhaps a regrettable move, the team is ridding themselves of the man who gained them half of these coveted finishes. Andrea Iannone, who will be replaced with Jorge Lorenzo, is also the Ducati rider with the highest standing in the team. He’s placed 8th on the standings with 63 points, more than the equivalent of four wins (107) behind Marc Márquez. His runner-up Andrea Dovizioso is four points behind him at ninth place. They’ve certainly come to a far less desirable outcome than they threatened at the pre-season testing, where their speed kept rivals on their toes.
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“Clearly, we expected more. But on several occasions, our riders and bikes were competitive but for some reason, couldn’t win. That remains our goal.
“In Qatar, we were fast, but Iannone made a mistake and crashed, although I do not think we could have beaten Lorenzo to the win.
“In Argentina, everyone saw what happened when we had two podiums in the bag and in Italy, I think Iannone could have fought for the win if he hadn’t dropped to 13th at the second corner.”
Clearly, he feels Iannone could have done plenty of things better, which may explain the rider’s move to Suzuki. However, he doesn’t think the team’s failure to make an impression lies entirely with its drivers’ bad judgment. He’s also pointing fingers at the new Michelin hard tyres, which were incorporated after Scott Redding’s tyres got delaminated in Argentina.
“At tracks with low grip, like Jerez, Le Mans and Catalunya, the harder Michelin casing has hurt us.
“It affected most people, but especially us because the bike was designed around the tyres we use in winter.
“But it is good that Ducati has proven to be competitive even at tracks where we didn’t expect to be.”
Sure, they’ve jettisoned the troublesome racer, but they’re still stuck with the tyres. So they’d better come up with a game plan to stay on course for the rest of the season. As Marc Márquez said, the only way to win is to adapt.