Livio Suppo: "Hayden's Results Are Disappointing"

Ducati are in trouble, and they know it. Just how deep that trouble is has become apparent from the factory's actions over the past couple of weeks: First, there was the monster salary offered to Jorge Lorenzo to make the switch, then came news that Ducati had approached both Dani Pedrosa and Loris Capirossi, asking them to ride the Desmosedici. Casey Stoner's absence has made it painfully clear just how dependent they are on the Australian's brilliance.

Ducati boss Livio Suppo explicitly acknowledged that fact in an interview with the German website "When Casey isn't here, then we don't have a rider who can race at the front," he told the German language site. Suppo underlined just how important a part of the package a top rider has become, pointing out that Stoner and Rossi had taken the bulk of the victories in the 800cc era, with the others having just a handful of victories between them. "The rider can make a huge difference," he told, "It's just incredible how Valentino, Jorge Dani and Casey are in a league of their own." 

Suppo also stated bluntly that he did not believe that Nicky Hayden was the answer to their problems. "Nicky's results are disappointing, he is below our expectations of him," Suppo said. But the Ducati factory team boss also pointed out that Hayden was making progress. "He was sixth in Brno, which is very good - especially when you realize that his lap times were almost good enough to be on the podium. Now we will wait and see what happens at Indianapolis, last year he did a good job. We will watch what happens and take it from there."

Suppo refused to be drawn on whether Ducati would be exercising the option the factory has on Nicky Hayden this weekend. "I cannot tell you anything more. Not because I don't want to, but because quite simply there is nothing to tell," he told the German website.

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Well, Mr. Suppo, have you considered the possibility that Hayden's results are dissapointing because your bike is a steaming pile of dung that no one wants to ride?

Good luck finding a rider.

It's a harsh and poorly timed comment, but I think Nicky would agree. He was to fight for wins, not top tens.

Back in the beginning of this decade, when I was the parts manager for Ducati Richmond (VA) and Rossi had just left Honda for Yamaha, word filtered through the American dealerships that Ducati had offered quite a bit more money than Yamaha to get the guy's services.

The stumbling block was reported to be the personal appearance bit: Rossi wasn't willing to do the kind of personal appearances that Ducati was demanding as part of his service.

(Aside: Personally, I was greatful. Two years earlier the dealership moved into new, fancier quarters, and for the grand opening Ducati pulled Ben Bostrum out of his pre-season WSB rookie practice and sent him in for the weekend. He was great, we were swamped and completely overrun. Had they been able to send Rossi, no doubt the building wouldn't have been standing by the end of the day.)

What better way of selling Ducati Superbikes than Nicky moving over to WSBK and winning sometimes?

Say what you want about Suppo, but sometimes the truth hurts.

Ducati are stringing Hayden along while the silly season plays out so that the factory seats will be taken and a factory WSBK ride will look relatively better to Hayden. Ducati don't want to lose Nick b/c they want him to win WSBK titles and they would like to keep him in the organization to see what happens after 2011 when the 800cc contract expires. Suppo's critique of Hayden's performance has nothing to do with truth, Suppo is simply managing expectations.

Suppo is certainly no Tardozzi. The atmosphere in the Ducati MotoGP garage and among the people at Ducati Corse working on the project must be absolutely toxic by this point, an exercise in blame avoidance.

we must then ask WHY would Lorenzo ride for 1/2 the compensation, give up a chance to ride a superior bike, be team #1 & chose to stay in Rossi's shadow...because???

What Suppo doesn't understand is that anyone who has ridden near Nicky or Casey KNOWS what the problem is.

I hope Nicky is in negotiations with Tech 3.

As much as this pains me to say it, the bike is categorically not a pile of poo. If a rider who *nobody* rated as a serious contender was able to win decisively on it in his debut year for the team, after a period of time where he managed to crash every bike and every brand of tyre he rode for in the previous 3 or 4 years and then, in the follow up year was still a serious contender for the title until mid year and this year, despite suffering from a debillitating illness has still won and podiumed several times indicate to me that the bike, far from a stinking pile of poo is actually quite good and when partnered with a rider skilled ride it, is damn near unbeatable.

Sorry all you Hayden and Melandri fans, the bike isn't crap. It might be hard to get the best from, but it is a winning bike.

You can look at it another way. Imagine how fast Stoner would be if he was on a good bike ... 

That's EXACTLY what I said about Casey on a Yamaha back during "Lorenzogate!"

Talk about some nail-biting, hair-raising, excruciatingly tense final laps THAT woulda produced...

Jorge is obviously NOT the fool many thought he might turn out to be (a fool for a HUGE pile of cash, anyway). If he HAD been, we might just have found out how frightening that prospect would've turned out to be.

Maybe we still will, someday...but probably not, I guess.

Regardless, I'm enjoying this season, and I have no doubt that next season will take...oh...about...13 years off my life. Catalunya took 4 off at a single whack...

Oh, and Rossi is quoted as saying that Ducati had an opinion that the computers had the final say on too many things, and that they trusted the data acquisition more than the rider. (Maybe Ducati HAVEN'T fully appreciated the fact that there's any sort of problem with the bike itself. That would explain all the people they're throwing under the bus...) Anyway, Jeremy once looked at Loris (?) on the bike, saw how out of shape/control it was, then said, "...and according to their data acquisition, it's all going perfectly well right now!" I've long admired Ducati's guts/chutzpah/stones/huevos/cojones for going all-out on the tech, but they're starting to seem to do the tech overkill for the same reason that dogs...uhh...erm...

Never mind.

For the record, I REALLY appreciate Nicky's attitude, friendliness, work ethic, and the fact that he has ALWAYS blessed me with never having to watch races alone, since my wife will get up with me at 6 AM on a weekend to watch the races, hoping he'll flash that trillion-dollar smile for the cameras. That said, I've always felt he was down one rung on the riding skill/prowess ladder from the race winners. He had a fair shot at winning when he had 1) a surplus of horsepower, 2) a bike that didn't break down, and 3) could ride at tracks that were unfamiliar to the rest of the field, because he wasn't a regular race-winning rider, and he'll never be. He won on reliability and consistency. He was riding the RC211V, for goodness' sake! That all is gone now, so I really don't expect him to have another chance to win until we get back to my beloved 990s or 1000s, or at least some means of making more horsepower than can be easily used, which would suit his style. Again, though, I really, REALLY appreciate him, and I wish that he could again be a regular on the podium.

Some VERY good points have been made for WSBK, but I really feel kinda bad for ol' Nicky. Getting HONEST, but poorly timed, comments from Suppo...that just stings. NOT very classy, Livio... First, Lorenzo is the sticking point, and now Pedrosa seems to be next, and Nicky--for whatever reasons, STILL a World Champion--is wondering what his fate is...without too many seats left in the paddock...

For the record, I ardently hope that Honda WON'T blink. I am wishing, hoping, praying, and crossing every appendage that I can cross...that HRC will stick to their guns about Puig. Like going back to 990s, it's an idea whose time has come. It's long overdue.

OK. I'm leaving now.

Well just how good does this make Casey, when none of the other aliens will touch the thing, and Casey can win on the red ball of kriptonite.

Wow, If you're the manager of a team, and you can't do anything about your employees until the end of the season, trashing on them serves absolutely ZERO purpose. After all that Nicky has done for them, never blaming Ducati or the team (that I have read) and always giving a positive spin on things, and constantly doing better Every.Race., that's just absolutely gauche of livio to say. At this point I wouldn't mind seeing Casey going to a better place, and Nicky on Tech3, and having Ducati next season standing around, holding their peckers with zero talent to ride their bike, and they can probably put a great deal of thanks for that situation to Suppo and his "congenial" behaviour.

Maybe the bike just fits Stoner's riding quirks so perfectly that he can overcome the intangibles that vex other riders. It's an undeniably fast machine but there is no denying that others have had problems controlling it well. Maybe Stoner wouldn't be faster on the M1 because it doesn't fit him like this bike does. Whatever the case, Ducati need to make the bike more versatile so other riders can handle its power the way Stoner can. If not, as has been pointed out ad nauseum, Ducati will be (are) in big trouble when Stoner is absent, for whatever reason.

Way to go Suppo. Making comments like that about Hayden while trying to attract someone willing to risk their career on what is obviously a bike with big problems. Hayden hasn't said "the bike is disappointing"- he's a class guy, unlike, it seems, Ducati / Marlboro. Who else is gonna ride that thing? kallio - he wants out too. He approached T3. Anyone from Ducati / marlboro reading this - Suppo is the problem, not Hayden.

Doesn't it seems like Casey has a talent for "not sweating the small stuff"-? He pushes past the edge over and over his rookie year, gets new bike and tires next season, and wins everything. You could see his machine squirming under him. Now everyone else that mounts up gets freaked. Fast bike but a fear feast to ride.

So for Hayden or anyone- its not a lack of ability; in some weird way its too much feel?

from my modest vantage point it bothers me when any team manager speaks negatively about someone who risks his life for the company he works for. Nicky, Loris and Marco are all some of my favorites because they bring the human element to racing. People like Mr. Suppo add nothing to any sport, I would not expect him to fall on his own sword for assembling a single dimensional team. Casey while talented had clearly caught the field in a state of flux in 2007 after showing everyone how to ruin a very good Honda the year before. What is amazing is what Nicky has done, through hard work to refine a bike that has admittedly scared him (and others); to have this work go to the next riders benefit would be just fine with me as long as he is able to secure the ride he DOES deserve for 2010. The most recent American World Champion deserves that and not even Suppo can deny it. Does Suppo really think a racer like Hayden joins any team for 15th place? Disappointment goes both ways.

To describe his Honda as very good isn't correct. That was a 3rd string Honda, from a rookie team and the last Michelin's on the truck. Given the state of the bike, the team, their budget and the politics that determined what riders got what tyres, to describe that bike as a very good misses all the relevant facts.

Stoner, love him or hate him, found a team, bike and tyres that he worked incredibly well with. If others, given the same equipment and allegedly the same talent can't make it work for them, then the problem lays fairly with them.

Only one problem Hayden has not been quick enough, and the team cannot wait all year for him to get his 3 year old mojo on. Send him to superbikes so he can ride the only way he knows how. As for the State of flux comment well if the package was so good why didnt Loris or marco do any good, because they were over a second a lap consistently slower, once again agin not quick enough.


Hayden is vastly overrated, and seems to be cut a lot of slack by some. Even in his championship year he won only 2x, and has won only 3x in his entire MotoGP career, whereas Stoner won 6x -- i.e. 2x Hayden's career total -- last year alone. Those are facts. The reason he fell out of favor at Honda is because Pedrosa's results were significantly and consistently better. Given the situation in the paddock at the time, I understood why Ducati signed him. But I also understood why it was only a one year contract (and it wasn't just due to the Melandri disaster).

Considering how few really serious injuries there are, maybe we do forget how dangerous what they do is. But they are paid a lot of money for taking those risks.

Perhaps tact, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. And it's hard to get the whole tenor by just reading remarks. But no doubt Hayden is paid an above average salary, and for that Ducati rightly expects him to be challenging for the podium, and not struggling to finish in the top ten. Saying so is no more than stating the obvious. Stoner's results show the potential of the bike. It's a rider's job to work with his crew to get results. For some reason(s), both Melandri and Hayden have failed to do that at Ducati.

I don't know what kind of decision making process Ducati has, or how involved Dorna might be behind the scenes. And via e.g. Edwards v Toseland, not to mention the Talmasci farce, it's clear that sporting results alone are not always decisive. But my take is that Hayden should count himself lucky to get another year at Ducati, or perhaps in MotoGP at all -- just looking at his results.

Hayden is a 990 World champ. The 800's are for jockeys like Pedrosa (Honda) and Stoner (Ducati) Maybe he should head to WSB so he can cut loose on a bike that fits. Small possibility he maybe fast on a Yam as Edwards and Rossi can ride it but Edwards still said its like a 250 and had to change his riding style. Go to WSB Nicky and we will love watching you back it in again...

eah - If Hayden is so vastly overrated as you say, what does it make Capirossi, Melandri, Dovi and the rest of the riders behind the top 4? Besides, that doesn't excuse Livio Suppo. He and his people are clearly the most overrated bunch in MotoGP. Jeremy McWilliams might look pretty good on that red bike....ha!

Dovizioso had a good rookie season -- 5th. Honda would probably say they expected a bit more from him this season, championship-wise. Although he's usually competitive, i.e. top 5 or so, those three DNFs punched a hole in his season. We'll see how he does the rest of the way. Again here you have someone -- Pedrosa -- who shows the potential of the bike. He doesn't have enough experience for me to have a strong(er) opinion about him.

Of the three other riders you specifically mention, I'd prefer Melandri. Just my opinion.

I don't see why you jump on Suppo and "his people" -- with Stoner on board it's clearly a top bike and a top team.

Suppo is disappointed simply because he knows the Ducati can run at the front, and it currently doesnt with Nicki on it. I should think Nicki is disappointed too.
I too would like to see NH on an easier/better bike or WSB, he's a great guy and great to watch on the right bike.
And yes, leave Suppo holding his own pecker. Suppo was complicit in that wet tyre debacle the other day. Unforgivable and he was ultimately responsible.
Dissing your riders is not cool PR Livio.

If Hayden is so over-rated, where does that leave someone like Colin Edwards: No MotoGP world championships, no MotoGP wins, all on a bike that has supposedly been better than either the competing Honda or Ducati? Yet nobody's crying that he needs pushed back to WSBK.

Face it folks, Nicky's a good, talented, A-level racer. Unfortunately, racing against the Four Gods. And to listen to a few voices in this thread, those four must be the only people you should allow on the track anymore.

Here's some more data:

Since winning the title in 2006, Hayden has finished on the podium 5x, and scored a total of 339 points.

During the same time period, Chris Vermeulen, who is probably out of MotoGP after this season, has 6 podium finishes, and has scored 379 points.

Who has arguably been on the better machinery during this time?