Andrea Dovizioso: A Two-Year Deal With Ducati?

An announcement on who will replace Valentino Rossi at Ducati appears imminent. As we mentioned last week, Andrea Dovizioso agreed to take the factory Ducati seat vacated by Rossi's departure for Yamaha. His signature, it appears, was subject to certain conditions, though. According to reports in the Italian media, Dovizioso demanded guarantees of support and development from Audi before putting pen to paper.

Italian TV station Mediaset is now reporting that Dovizioso has now received those guarantees, and has signed a two-year deal to ride for Ducati in 2013 and 2014. Ducati's choosing Dovizioso over Cal Crutchlow - Dovizioso's British partner at the Tech 3 squad had earlier been offered the ride at Ducati - is an indication of the the future direction of the Bologna factory. The deal appears to signal that Ducati has accepted that they need to focus their development on building a bike to suit a traditional Grand Prix style, as displayed by the Italian. It is perhaps a signal to Ducati's new owners Audi that they understand the magnitude of the problem, and that the loss of Valentino Rossi is being taken very seriously indeed.

Dovizioso's signing fits into Ducati's strategy shift in MotoGP. The switch from a traditional satellite leasing model to a factory-supported junior team strategy is part of this shift, as Ducati MotoGP project leader Alessandro Cicognani told at Mugello. With four near-identical bikes from 2013 onwards, development and feedback should be much faster for the Bologna factory. Audi will have an important role to play in this, in large part providing assistance in areas such as prototyping and increasing the speed with which new parts can be designed and produced. With two young riders likely to be moved up from Moto2 - Andrea Iannone and Scott Redding are being linked to the rides, as has current CRT rider Danilo Petrucci - Ducati's strategy is more rounded and complete than it has been in recent years.

Dovizioso's signing leaves the fate of Cal Crutchlow hanging in the balance. Earlier in the year, Crutchlow had offers from both the factory Ducati squad and his current Monster Tech 3 squad, but was holding on while waiting for a response from Yamaha. The Englishman has a long history with the factory, and was hoping for a shot at the second factory seat. His patience may have cost him dearly: once it became clear that Rossi was serious about leaving Ducati, the Bologna factory quickly signed Nicky Hayden to provide some continuity - as well as help with sales in the key US market. With Rossi in the factory Yamaha seat, Crutchlow's options are severely limited. The Tech 3 deal could still be on the table, though team boss Herve Poncharal has also been involved in talks with fellow Frenchman Randy de Puniet, currently riding a bike for the Aspar Power Electronics CRT team.

The Dovizioso deal will probably be announced officially ahead of next weekend's Red Bull Indianapolis GP. Once that has been announced, the rest of the seats aboard factory prototypes should quickly fall into place.

Back to top


I guess that's the end of Dovi's Moto gp career, WSBK will be huge in the next couple of years.
I hope Cal gets the Tech 3 seat again, 'cause there's not much else

I originally thought the same, but maybe this isn't the end of him after all. He's still young and eventually the Ducati will become competitive again. Honda wasn't going to put him in a factory seat, and with Rossi and Lorenzo contracted for 2 seasons, he just might be in a good spot to win sooner rather than later. Ducati won't be Ducati for long. VW/Audi like motor racing and know how to succeed at it from Dakar to Le Mans. We can't discount that fact.

One might consider their Lambo and Bugatti name plates as glam brands without any racing substance behind them, but Ducati is definitely a racing brand and has been for decades. Audi didn't buy the company to let the racing part fade. They are going to get that machine back up front! 2014 is probably the year they get it done and Dovi will be the guy to ride it there.

It will most likely be quite painful for Dovi to move to Ducati, crashing and ending up around 10th position or worse, in the beginning at least. But he doesn't have much to lose, in fact he has a lot to win.

1) If he doesn't win, no one will be surprised or question his ability. That means he can ride without pressure. (Although one could argue that he has performed best under pressure. Like this year trying to get a Factory Yamaha seat, as well as last year trying to save his Repsol seat.)

2) In the of chance that Ducati and Audi find a way forward in a year or two, Dovi may be credited as the man who turned the Ducati into a bike that is actually possible to ride for someone other than Stoner. If he does win on the Ducati, he has done what the GOAT couldn't. And that would no doubt be getting a lot of praise(be it fair or not).

3) He hasn't been a winner on the Honda(one win, in the rain, during 3 years in a factory team doesn't really count..) or the Yamaha, so its not that big of a loss to move to another bike where he most likely won't win.

4) He will no doubt be paid a lot more than during his Tech 3 days, and probably more than during his Repsol days.

5) He's an italian in an italian team.

All in all it's pretty much a win win for Dovi.

I agree, it is also probably his last chance to get a factory ride in his career, short of another manufacturer entering the series like Suzuki or BMW.

By the time a seat becomes available at factory Yamaha there will be someone else lined up and I can't see him going back HRC ever; Marquez will be there for a long time and Pedrosa will keep his seat until another up and coming rider usurps it.

Maverick Vinales in two years - at least as good as Marquez

Dovi is a good rider but he hasn't shown anything to make one think he can hoist himself into the rarefied precincts of the top 3 now to be minus 1 unless Marquez shows wondrous talent. And Dovi never was able to show himself as fast as Spies, given a trouble free run of Ben. Ducati will have to show a near magical turnaround
for Dovi to have even the machinery to be a front runner. and what does Audi know about bikes? If Randy goes to Tech3 Cal is up the old creek for a ride.

I think Cal may still have a shot at a ride with Gresini. Hadn't heard that Bautista's been signed yet. Cal's results are better. I had read that the RDP deal to Tech 3 was real. That would leave the top CRT seat open as well.

well there still may be a small chance of Cal on a Ducati Junior team.

sounds as though a 4 Ducati's will be a factory effort next year. Anything is possible!

It's better for dovi to go to Ducati in my opinion then loosing him to worldSbk... Idk how competitive the Ducati will be next year hopefully better than now but not better than Yamaha like in 2007
With stoner... As for cruchlow he waited too long I don't think he had a chance of a factory Yamaha seat and as for the Ducati offer he let it slip away coulda just said yes at mugello and
Put pen to paper and he woulda been all set for 2013... Greasing Honda wants an Italian rider I don't think cruchlow has a chance at gresini,, and if Bautista does not show any good form he will be replace next year or go to CRT or back to moto2 c'mon it's been 3 years and he's a 250cc champ and he has not have a podium in the premier class...
I think randy de puniet should get a tech 3 ride... He is a good rider and has not complained this year about his CRT team.. And he's doing we'll this year..
Will see in Indy how the silly season progresses.. Great for Rossi.. To sign with Yamaha,,I missed his raining years and hopefully a competitive champion for 2013 and 14..

I could be wrong but I think although Ducati said they would make Cal an offer they never actually put it on the table for him to sign or else he would have signed it.

Although Bautista hasn't been at the front this season his Honda is pretty different to all the others so it's hard to make a comparison. And the general consensus last year was he did a pretty good job on the Suzuki so I think he's just unfortunate that he's not Italian for the Gesini ride and it would be a shame for him to loose out on a prototype ride.

Hopefully Cal can sty at Tech3, he's had a long association with Yamaha and although I do like RdP I think Cal would be better for Tech3 than the Frenchman. If he looses out on the Tech3 ride then I'm not sure he would go to CRT... what else is there for him, back to WSBK? that would be really undeserved.

There really aren't enough prototype rides going at the moment and CRT seems like a dead end.... I was never one to speak against the CRT concept but I am liking it less and less as the season goes on.

Yes, I think what transpires from all these "Who goes where?" discussions is that there aren't nearly enough prototypes in MotoGP. CRT is a totally different championship, they share the track but run different races, it's another category alltogether; no matter how good the rider, a CRT machine cannot aspire to do more than an occasional top-ten, which must be truly frustrating for riders like RdP or CEII. I'm sure Bautista, Crutchlow, or even Barberá o Abraham would much rather go to WSBK or Moto2 (the latter two) than go down the CRT way--which may be WSBK & Moto2's gain but a waste of talent imo. I applaud Honda's decision to produce customer prototypes and I hope Yamaha (and maybe Suzuki?) will do the same in the future. And it would also be great if the factories decided to lease their previous-season bikes to selected teams as well. Those measures would ensure a healthy MotoGP field, with bikes that competent riders would not be ashamed to ride. Pseudo-MotoGP bikes--the CRTs--running around slower than WSBKs and only fractionally faster than the Moto2s is simply pathetic; and that is currently almost half of the MotoGP grid.

Crutchlow stated several times that he was not holding out on Ducati but the other way round. As long as Cal can retain the Tech 3 spot, he'll be in a much better position than Dovi on the Ducati anyway. I really hope that Ducati can become competitive, but they have given Honda and Yamaha such a big start in terms of development in the right direction.

I am not sure WSB will be huge in the next couple of years, judging by the paddock in Silverstone it really is suffering and the bike sales slowdown has yet to hit them. I can see Infront doing an Octagen, pulling out of the partnership and leaving FGS to run it alone again, particular when the stands are empty everywhere this year. The Mediaset deal might save them a bit but its only there because Motogp went elsewhere.
This may be what Dovi needs or will be cast into the Biaggi sytle abyss, although no one will be expecting anything from Ducati.
I am not sure about where Cal will go but it is worrying that lots of Brit names are being put forward (although that happens every year) 2 or 3 in the series is enough, how many in WSB and it has not really reaped rewards.

given the olympics were happening only 70 or 80 miles away and the horrible weather, the crowds were bound to be down. As for paddock participation and bike sales not hitting them, it already has. Yamaha bailed, Ducati became a factory supported customer team, BMW doing the same, suzuki is a shadow of itself also.

as for Dovi, rather than an act of Hubris, this an act of pride (an equally poor but venial sin).

So what about Donington? No one was there either. The weather was far worse on the days leading up to the GP in June and the crowds still turned up. Saturday was like spot the fan at Silverstone, the only ones you did see were like me had hospitality tickets. Sunday was kind of embarrasing as even the start finnish straight was thread bare and a little clump of people at Woodcote sat opposite one of only a couple of giant screen.

Looking back on all video's this year of WSB it has been spot the fan, I thought Bruno was bad until I got to Silverstone.

As for the teams the one appearing most proffessional is the Cresent Suzuki team.

re: "I am not sure WSB will be huge in the next couple of years"

ummmn where you been...? after 25 years, it's huge NOW. and actually what it is (or isn't) in the next couple of years is irrelevant 'cause whatever it is...? it's going to be BIGGER than MotoGP by default. WSBK is based on tangibles, MotoGP is based on star-effing... on nothing. rossi get's hurt again or god forbid another rider dies and it's lights out. brands are durable and can be parked in one's garage indefinitely. in contrast, rider fame and the worth of their autograph is fleeting.

Ah Shamoron, Huge its 'Humungus'. Try visiting a round, you will see how big it is.
But hey next year they will have Nascar style stickers! that will make it even more tangible.

A very bad move for Dovi this will bust him for sure Randy on a Tech 3 will be mouth watering to see.

Good luck to Dovi he will need it big time at Ducati next year.

Dovi hasnt shown he can win so what advantage does he have for Ducati. They know hes a 3-5th rider but thats it. It seems they would be better off going with young guys across the board and hoping they catch lightning in a bottle.

Well in all fairness Dovi was 3rd in points last year and that puts him above what their soon to be former Italian rider did on the bike. And yes Dani got hurt but he always gets hurt. Dovi has fallen from time to time but he's durable and a consistent rider. Seems like a good fit imo.

3rd in points but 4th best rider last year. You don't beat someone in the points by only 8 points when you know they have missed 3 races and feel good about it.

Cal was just saved from years of frustration by Dovi. He will fare better on a second team Honda or Yamaha. Dovi is a very good rider and he has been screwed by circumstances. As much as I want Ben to succeed, Dovi would have achievied better results on the Yamaha 'A' team bike. He really deserved the ride that Vali just signed for. But given the choice of signing a nine time world champion with plenty of financial support and a guy that has simply just plugged away, doing the best he can on second rate equipment, well it only makes sense to go with the former. Again, circumstances. Too bad Honda didn't offer up a third factory ride for him this year. I think he and Nicky are certain to end up in SBK, and that's not necessarily bad. At least that series has remained pure, as oppossed to the watered down, CRT diluted series that Moto GP is fast becoming.

but I still can't see how Ducati will serve 4 identical bikes (factory and junior team), when they couldn't serve 2 this year. Maybe there was something in Cicognani's words I didn't understand; regrettably I am not fluent in Italian.

This year's strategy of building 2 factory and 2 satellite machines was a business decision. The same goes for next year's strategy of having 4 very similar factory-spec machines, it's a business decision. Ducati is hoping for assistance with producing the necessary parts from Audi.

...Is that De Puniet might get a competitive bike again. It was not so long ago that he was past his crashing phase and was a serious contender on the LCR Honda; after the spill on oil left from Lorenzo's blown Yamaha at the Sachsenring (2010?), nothing went right. He is a great rider who deserves a competitive machine.

Dovi on the Ducati makes sense in some ways. Italian? Check. Reliable finisher? Check. Ability to develop a bike into a winner? Check.

Ducati needs Dovi more than he needs them. I hope this is a good move: It would be a shame to see Dovi go from vying for podiums to struggling to stay in the top ten.

Dovi gets a factory ride and the attention he finds deserved, Ducati get a(nother) competent rider who has been around race and title winning machinery recently and should tell them just what they need.

I hope it works out for both.

That makes sense. Let us hope then... Pity for Cal, for all the bravado and the willingness and the brave riding -at least- he ends up the standing guy when the music stops. Is it because he's a green leg, or simply because as Casey put, MotoGP is more politics than racing... And I am not sure that Dovi will survive the encounter with Ducati, they already annihilated Marco and Valentino. My feeling is that something has to give... in Ducati. Or somebody.

Stoner's crew is all Italian, and lead by the only Crew-Chief who has ever had any success with the Ducati.

If Ducati don't grab them for Dovi, they've got rocks in their head... which means to say, they might not do it.

As a Ducati fan, I had hope to see Crutchlow on the Ducati but.... oh well.

Just my opinion; but Dovizioso is more of a "rider" than a "racer" to me.

But hopefully it's not the end for Cal. Like someone posted earlier, the Gresini Honda could be a fantastic opportunity. Crutchlow would probably get better results (w/ Gresini) than he would if he was on the factory Ducati anyway....

Either way, MotoGP needs Crutchlow to remain in the series I feel.

This could be Dovi' s chance to finally brand his name in the moto gp memories of us all as the one aside from casey who not only can ride the Ducati up at the front but also the one who paved the way so others can ride a more natural feeling motorcycle. With the help of Audi it could very well be a dream come true for him. As an Italian with an Italian manufacturer it may very well be not Vale and the ducati which we thought of as the match made in heaven but Audi, Ducati & Dovisioso.

Is it the last supper for MotoGP, or the start of a new era?
Next year will be very interesting, as we see Rossi on a path towards redemption, likely to be gifted at least one spot in each race due to Stoner's retirement. And Dovi - the journeyman, the 'almost there' man - trying to take the Ducati to places that team has forgotten about since they ignored Stoner's pleas for improvements and lost him to Honda.
And RdP back on a competitive bike quite possibly dicing with the likes of the improving Bradl.

By the way, congratulations to Ben Spies for reading the tea leaves correctly and getting out.

And I hope Jorge's contract insists on a pit wall, and that Rossi doesn't get any of his settings, even last year's.
Although DORNA will no doubt have applied pressure in that regard, such is their need for Rossi to be successful, and for him to bring the fickle fanboys and bandwaggoners back.........

As I have noted elsewhere its in Yamahas interests for Rossi to win races, no need for Dorna pressure. It goes like this...

Rossi leaves Honda over spat with HRC about what is more important, rider or bike.

Rossi/Burgess turn moribound Yamaha into Championship bike. Thus proving Rossi/Burgess opinion correct.

Yamaha hire Lorenzo & Lorenzo beats Rossi to championship. (Subtext... maybe it is the bike after all)

Rossi has hissy fit about his bike being shared with Lorenzo. History repeats, Rossi leaves to turn moribound Ducati into championship winner.

Rossi/Burgess fail to produce either a championship winner OR a performance that exceeds Haydens efforts ( Subtext... the GOAT & the Guru are mortal)

Yamaha re-hire Rossi. Why? If Rossi is a podium contender or race winner from the start it proves without a doubt that its the bike, or more importantly Yamahas bike, that makes the champion not the other way around.

With Rossi a race winner again Yamahas GP technology will be shown to be the best, which is why they are in there spending the big bucks. Its all about enhancing brand. If Rossi fails, well Lorenzo is the real Championship contender on the team anyway so Yamahas risk is low. Unlike Rossi's.

Rossi/Burgess turn moribound Yamaha into Championship bike.
Honda electronics engineers poached by Yamaha turn moribund Yamaha into Championship bike, and continue to fail to get proper credit from punters buying into Rossi/Burgess myth.

in 2004 a rider could make the difference with a slower bike. Reading this ad nauseum on here is getting tiresome.

In 2007 with the first year of the 800cc class the entire formula changed. Now with engine rules, and spec tires, and increased traction control, fuel regulations, anti-spin, launch-control, turn by turn mapping, the bike has become more important than its' ever been in history.

What Rossi and Burgess did in 2004 could not be done today, not with the electronic nightmares these bikes have become.

Generically comparing 2011-2012 bikes to bikes of an era that expired 6 years ago like this is fools play. As Rossi and a number of other riders have said, the ratio of bike to rider has dramatically changed and the rider can't make the difference that they used to in previous eras of grand prix machines. Electronics have done away with that.

In 2007 there were no limits on the number of engines per season, only fuel capacity regs.
In 2007 there were no spec tyres. Ducati were on Bridgestones designed specifically to suit their bike, Yamaha & Honda were on Michelin with their respective #1 riders getting "overnight specials" build to order.

Remember Michelins attitude to supplying handmade tyres to the favoured few & production rubber to the rest had been an issue for years, certainly important enough for Ducati to become the Bridegestones first factory team rather than be second best on the french rubber. Remember also Rossi was one of the favoured few & this was certainly part of his domination on both the Honda 500, RCV211 & Yamaha M1

In 2006 Valentino had multiple races where the tires delaminated or threw chunks. that was strike 1.

In 2007 Michelin could not match Bridgestone in tire performance. Rossi switched then Pedrosa then everyone else, spec tires for all. Rossi won the championship in 2008 using tires made for the Ducati. In 2009 he won the championship again on the exact same tires as everyone else..

Rossi was not the only rider to get overnights. All the factory pilots got them. Julian Ryder interviewed Nicky Hayden and he admitted it while riding for Honda. If anything Rossi debunked that stupid myth in 2009 riding on the same tires as every one and in 2008 the same tires as Stoner.

So you now agree that in 2007 there were no spec tyres? Very good.

One of the more interesting quotes from Burgess in the last couple of years is that the switch to spec tyres changed their whole set up philosophy. In the past, he stated, a set up issue on race weekend such as chatter would be solved by a delivery of overnight specials. The spec tyres changed all that & issues were now solved within set up. My expression "the favoured few" implied all the factory riders including Hayden. The majority of the field had no hope on the proddy Michelins, or if real unlucky the Dunlops that Tech 3 used.

In 2006 Rossi did suffer tyre issues, along with most Michelin users as the competition from Bridgestone put pressure on Michelin in a way that Dunlop could not. But it does pay to remember that the 2006 championship was won by a Michelin shod rider. The other salient point is by 2006 Ducati had become a championship contender, not just a potential race winner at circuits that suited their bike. This was in no short order to Bridgestone & Ducati developing their efforts in tandem. It is easy to forget Capirossi was in a championship leading position before that big shunt with Sete mid season & finished the year 3rd in the standings.
By seasons end the Ducati/Bridgestone combo was good enough for Bayliss to win as a wildcard the last race of the 990 era even though his previous MotoGP career with Ducati had been on Michelins.

By 2007 the Ducati/Bridgestone combination was the best developed bike in the field. Built on the successful chassis of the 2006 bike with clearly the best 800cc engine & tyres designed to suit.

Where did I ever state that in 2007 there were spec tyres? Methinks you are looking for an argument that doesn't exist.

Been watching this sport since before Rossi joined the premier class.

Furusawa gave Rossi multiple engines to try. Traditional inline 4, 4 valve, 5 valve, crossplane, etc. Left it up to him to choose. The traditional inlines were more powerful but he chose the crossplane due to power delivery and dealt with the HP deficiency all season. That engine, in 2004, utilized cam chains, same as a street bike while Honda used a gear driven v5 that had the same weight penalty as a 4. Rossi and Burgess also refined that package, the 211v, then handed their work to their rivals and started over in 2004 with a slower bike.

Furusawasan also attributes and acknowledges Rossi as the #1 factor in all that success. In multiple interviews to boot.

"Right. And you need to remember that Valentino was kind of like a King. We all huddled around him when he came in after riding to listen to what he had to say - would he give 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' to our ideas?

So when Valentino gave the 'thumbs up' for four-valve and crossplane crankshaft everybody knew it was the way forward and worked in the same direction. We didn't have much time. Only two months to the race in South Africa. So I really owe a big thanks to Valentino for making a clear and correct choice.

I had showed some results and evidence [to support the engine change] with the prototype running on the test track, but maybe only 50 percent of people thought 'ok I will follow you'. The other 50 percent still thought 'that is not the reality on the race track'.

But after Valentino said 'yes', everybody knew it was the right thing and we were able to get a lot of power from people all working as a team. That is one reason why we have had such good results.

Maybe if Valentino hadn't come to Yamaha, I would have been [jokes about a noose around his neck!]. "

So according to Masao 50% of the factory did not think the crossplane was the way forward and you want to tell us he didn't have anything to do with that bike but refining. Funny Masao doesn't agree.

If I had more time I'd dig up the comments about Rossi verbatim. He sure lauded him as the main factor in all of their success. You'd figure 100+ wins in this sport and 7 premier class championships would net the guy credit for his accomplishments.

>>Furusawa gave Rossi multiple engines to try. Traditional inline 4, 4 valve, 5 valve, crossplane, etc. Left it up to him to choose.

Rossi made the same choice as the test riders that rode the same 4 test bikes. The test riders were saying the crossplane/4 valve bike felt slower but turned a faster lap time, not what the majority of Yamaha engineers thought would happen. Furusawa did and he was right and Rossi proceeded to help him refine the bike but the ideas behind the bike's success were all Furusawa.

from the interview at:

"It can be really hard to convince everyone to go in the same direction. So I did some trick. I came up with a pretty good idea - the crossplane crankshaft [utilising 'big bang' technology] - and then right after I joined MotoGP I started a design. Half a year later the first prototype ran on the racetrack near the Yamaha headquarters.

Everybody was looking and the first thing the test rider said was 'this bike feels slow'. So everyone looked at me, thinking 'Hmmm. You are the guy who thought of this...' And then he said 'But the lap time is so fast. It just feels slow because it is very, very smooth and stable.'"

>>We all huddled around him when he came in after riding to listen to what he had to say - would he give 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' to our ideas?

So Rossi gave feedback on Furusawa's designs. The same feedback the test riders did.


I suspect the last supper, only 2 competitive makes and constant rule changes are making the series a joke in my opinion.

It's basically been 2 competitive makes for nearly half of MotoGP/500cc GPs history (29 of 63 years it's been in existence).

You could argue that MotoGP should be called the Homaha Cup. Or maybe Yamanda?

Going back to 1983 all Honda/Yamaha except:

1993 - Schwantz Suzuki - the year Rainey had his accident.
2000 - KR Jr Suzuki
2007 - Stoner Ducati

And before Honda/Yamaha, MV Augusta won every championship from 1958 to 1974. A wide range of competitive marques would be great but it hasn't really happened yet in 63 years.

Apart from the fact that Duc are 'improving' the bike, any thoughts on how Dovi as a rider would fare on the Duc...? He has been spoken of as having a regular/normal riding style - what does that mean? Would his biggest strength - late, late braking - help getting more heat into the front?
Any thoughts?

May well help Dovi and I hope he can find something.
Casey made an interesting comment about his crash behind Pedrosa. It went something along the lines of, getting off the front brake too early thereby unloading the front and causing it to go......I just thought it was an interesting insight into his style.

I'm not sure this says too much about Stoner's style. He was attempting to position himself for an overtake so he was trying to carry extra corner speed to get the run on Pedrosa to the last corner so he let the brakes off a bit earlier than normal.

Dovi's a late braker and high corner speed 250 guy, which doesn't bode well for the Duke. I will give serious kudos to him in terms of adaptability, he has managed very well this year, taking a studied approach to the Yamaha which is very different in nature to the Honda. He may adapt to the Ducati, or the Ducati may finally adapt into a neutral, rider friendly machine. I doubt it though...

I think usually it is one or the other. I'm not sure it is possible to be last of the late brakers and carry more corner speed than average. Lorenzo brakes earlier than most and carries the most corner speed, the Honda riders have typically braked late to square off the corner and get on the gas earl to power out, making the most of the honda's acceleration. When you watch Dovi and Cal go round and round one aftert the other you can see Cal run up the rear wheel of Dovi because he's carrying more corner speed, he just can't out brake him.

In Laguna turn 2 Lorenzo was the one braking the latest, according to Brembo. Seems logical to me as well. Carrying more speed into the corner means less reduction of speed before entering the turn. At the level these guys are riding, they all brake as hard as possible. So less reduction doesn't mean less braking, but rather braking later than others. The one who brakes latest, while still making the turn on the optimal line, will carry the most speed into the corner.
I believe it's no coincidence the three top "late brakers" happen to be the three aliens.

"Top Ten “Late Brakers”
1. Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1
2. Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda RC213V
3. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda RC213V"

I have seen comments from Lorenzo where he talks about how he manages to lean the bike over further than everyone else. He said he leans it over so far by being softer and smoother at corner entry, if you brake too hard too late you loose a bit in stability and smoothness and don't have the chance to lean it over so far. I am also fairly sure I've seen a comment suggesting Cal was braking later than Lorenzo, it was just a general comment though. But I guess nothing is ever so black and white.

The Ducati mystery for me keeps deepening. What is this whole Audi thing anyway? Audi is not a builder of bikes and if they can produce parts faster than Ducati, to me it means nothing, since the design will still have to be done by Ducati. I think the primary problem with the Ducati is its ill handling and not speed of production of new parts. Andrea Dovizioso has proved that he is not a winner on winning motorcycles and how he can change Ducati is something that is a mystery to me. Somebody like Randy De Puniet or Cal Crutchlow could possibly take the bike and ride it to its limit, not Dovizioso. He got those podiums this year only when someone else was underperforming for whatever reason.

Tech3 is another insolvent mystery. Why Bradley Smith? He can be made to wait another year. I don't see him doing wonderful things in MotoGP. Why on the earth would Herve Poncharal commit himself to Smith?

right in the meat of the season make for friendly contract interest. It seemed like quite a promise, but 2013 seemed like a long way away and Tech3 battles like we've seen from Dovisioso and Crutchlow at the fast end of the field were not so common.

Cal, although a great character and an entertaining rider, fell down on the 'polictical side of things', he spoke to freely about his contract negotiations etc with Ducati. The factories do not want a 'big mouth' on the team when it comes to that sort of matter. An object lesson in diplomacy for Cal, but will he learn it? He has that sort of swagger which makes me unsure.

Dovi is fast, and has, on the rare occasion beaten an Alien, but he will need a Ducati which IS BETTER than the Honda and Yamaha to win, I'm somewhat skeptical. However, can you imagine the kudos Audi would get if he does win?

Be fabulous to see Depuniet back on a competitive bike. Hopefully he will get a ride on the junior Ducati team next year, I think he has immense talent, and if anyone deserves to benefit from Audi's involvement with Ducati its him and Hayden. He will have to keep his mind on the job rather than Lauren Vickers though, he has the usual frenchman pitfalls.

I also think that, when this next round of contracts expire, there will be wholesale renewal of the grid, this will be the last chance to get on the podium for a lot of these riders.

I have never been a Dovi fan, but despite failings with a factory bike he has made good progress with the satellite bike this year. Despite Cal's ability Dovi has secured the better results. If Cal could learn to get the bike off the line maybe things would be different. Also, Dovi is'nt stupid and knows factory politics so will not be fazed by what he finds at Ducati.

By this time of the year next year's Ducati must be designed,at least in principle and he will have the benefit of Rossi's and Burgess's input so it might not be a dog. If it fails again, he can say it was the bike and if it succeeds he can claim to have carried on the development.

Cal may end up out in the cold and that would be a shame. However, I seem to remember reading that Bradley's deal with Poncharal has a success clause built in so his seat is not yet a given. Even if Bradley gets the nod, I would have thought he would benefit hugely from advice from a fellow Brit, not a continental rider.

Conversely, two Brits in one team may not suit the sponsors or the factory so there's still plenty of room for speculation. The cards are being shuffled and there could still be a wild card waiting in the pack.

About Dovi having a chance next season, what Audi brings to the table, and how Audi "doesn't know anything about motorcycles".

1) I think Audi will fix what is wrong with Ducati, or Ducati will end up leaving MotoGP because they're too stubborn and unwilling to capitulate and change their "Ducati DNA" to make a competitive bike. Audi likes to win, and you can be darn sure that Audi will make any change necessary in order to win. Particularly design wise. If it means starting with a blank sheet of paper, so be it.

2) Dovi's prospects for the next two years: it will take Audi all 24 months just to turn the development program around and design a new bike from scratch. Dovi will be nowhere near the front for his entire two years unless something radical and unexpected happens that allow the bike to be competitive. It's not like Honda and Yamaha will be sitting still.

3) Ducati has changed everything except the motor. Absolutely everything. So, the first thing to do is toss the L4 design and make a motor that will actually allow the bike to handle and go from there. So what if that ruins the "Ducati DNA". Clearly, Ducati DNA is crap when it comes to competing at the top level of motosport.

Shape Up or Ship Out? Also, Vorsprung Durch Technik?
I agree that the arguments are going round in circles.
I hope that the Ducati/Audi solution doesn't take as long as I fear it might, at this level of the sport.
If Rossi jumped it may well be a way off though.
I also think the Rossi/Burgess/Furusawa comment makes sense. The question is - does anyone in Ducati yet have the power/money/strength of character etc. to actually make it happen in the way it should?
If Ducati have been on hold pending finalisation of the takeover (which seems logical) then any bike designed by the incumbent team seems likely to be heading to the digital crusher.Whoever had their head stuck up their proverbial whilst having any first or second line responsibility for outcomes over the past two years needs to be swept out once a new team has been identified.Perhaps asking the CEO etc. to concentrate on Maserati or somesuch is part of this/their plan?(much more polite than actually sacking someone and probably less litigious too)
Given the time it took for their 'superhuman' efforts last year to produce mediocrity in MGP championship terms then whoever rides that bike must be heading for another year of much the same.Laguna was (another) major disappointment and the expected updates turned out to be no better than a bad joke.Time waits for no factory.
I also agree with the above comments about previous years and there being little comparison between what Stoner rode and what Rossi rides. I definitely underestimated what Stoner was doing at the time but those two spent long enough in close company at Le Mans this year to show that when all other factors are similar they are both hugely talented and the result too close to call. The only balls or talent lacking were chrystal and astrological.
The only factor about Dovi or Cal going to Ducati that makes me feel happy for them is the money. They will earn it.
If they win a championship or get close to one it will be the bike and good luck/timing. Talent goes without saying.
If Audi can do that I will be grateful. going to work miracles and transform the Ducati from an ill handling pig to a silver dream racer despite Yamaha and especially Honda, having spent decades perfecting their machines. But according to a Reuters' press release Audi wants Ducati's lightweight engine expertise and because the chairman of the VW group,Ferdinand Piech, has a Ducati. I don't think the design department in Ingolstadt will be taking over design responsibility.

From Piech:" In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in June 2008, Piech said VW could learn from Ducati's approach to building lightweight engines."

Wonder why VW bought Bugatti? I think there was the glamour factor here as well as Ducati has carved out a niche for itself as an example of Italian design flair.

Assuming the Monster partnership with Tech 3 continues in 2013 then I'd expect the sponsor to have an opinion on the rider line up.

As a Monster sponsered rider, Crutchlow might have an advantage over RDP in signing for a Monster sponsored team?

that they would be accessing Audi's capabilities and knowledge, not handing over. That makes sense, whereas shifting the design role to another company does not. Most deals like this will have 2 way synergy - it's to be expected. Whether that includes what is said in Press releases is something only time will tell.It's also unclear whether they think that's applicable to a new range of bikes/other machines or can help with reducing weight in their cars - 2 cylinder high torque characteristics are good for modern 4 wheel vehicles too. Perhaps an Audi/VW 'Twin-Air' Up? Honda have migrated car engine tech to bikes. Audi (maybe BMW too) might move the technology (not the engine) the other way after Fiat's success with their 500/small car engine.
I would expect (hope)that Audi will clarify what they (Ducati MGP Team) should be doing and how they should be doing it. For all sorts of reasons the Ducati team (current or new)needs to be seen as the ones doing the work. The suppliers and much of the bike racing expertise is in Italy. Audi can do a lot of the backroom stuff, provide leadership, organise/expedite prototyping and generally re-energise the company. I hope.
How long Dovi/Cal etc have to wait for meaningful progress will depend upon whether the solution is a change to the rules to suit their bike (unlikely to be popular with other teams), or a drastically different engine etc.

The most challenging aspect of the Ducati story, I think, came to light in reporter Akira Nishimura's relevations concerning the attempt by Ducati to woe Furusawa to lead the technical and design depts. at Ducati to accelerate the development of the bike into a potential race winner. Furusawa actually went to Ducati in Italy for indepth interviews about this possibility before rejecting Ducati's overture. Technical director Preziosi said he would step down from his role if it would make the bike better, as Nishimura reported. This really shows what Ducati is up against and what Dovizioso will be dealing with over the next two years.

but the following just don't seem to allow it.
Dovi's riding style is not well matched to what the Ducati needs, he is a ''smoother'' I believe.
RdPuniet's on the other hand does. His style leans a bit towards Stoner's. Crutchlow's also. They are ''stranglers''.
Two years now the Ducati people had every chance to develop the bike into a contemporary apparat, but they turned a deaf ear to whatever was asked of them. Why should I believe Rossi when he says that? Rossi is the Big Manipulator, so I choose to believe Melandri and Stoner. Why should they (Phillipo & Co) change course now? Fear of losing their job? The money Ducati has spent the last 3 years running after the Sisyphus Project (L4 and carbonfibre) should cost all of them their job. There must exist other Italian chief engineers, the Bologna University is well and gut up to this job.
Cal will eventually get his chance, even if it means another year at Poncharal's outfit.
Is B. Smith something like 'a Casey in waiting?' The haste with which Herve pushes him up to MotoGP would suggest something like it. Does anybody have any knowledge on the riding style of Smith?

Also, didn't that poaching Rabid_Canine writes about, happen in 2010? Or 10 was a repeat of 2004? Maybe missing something here.
Finally it strikes me as odd that people still think it was Rossi's fault that Ducati doesn't work... Valencia 2010. He tried first time a bike he had no input in designing and in 2012 he still rides a bike in which he has no input. How wrong can I be?

"a drastically different engine "

Hmm, sounds tempting as long as we are going to speculate without any inside knowledge. Maybe buying the patents to Michael Czysz's trick in line 4, add desmodromic valve actuation--voilà, a world beater!

Old Alex Barros was one of my favourites over the years. He rode very much like Dovi and was pretty handy with the sattelite Desmo back then.
Should Dovi sign for L4 potential,I'll be a happy camper.
The bottom line should Dovi sign for Desmo goes about one thing only. That is the Valencia tests post race. If he is .7 seconds back of Repsol and Factory Yam come close of play on day 2,its game on 2013.
Now that would be exciting for #4 and team red.
2010 Valencia testing needs to be erased.
As much as Ducati have had to suffer the overhyped presence of #46 over the past 19 months,they need #4 to bring back a semblance of normality.
Should it be announced,I wish Dovi all the best in red.
Actually,come Valencia test,all he has to do is stick the D16 within 1.5 seconds of best lap to go one up on Rossi by comparison. Bet he will as early as day 1 given a 2010CF version chassis.

I hope if Stoner will stay aside MotoGP he will share with Dovi some Desmosedici riding advices he would never share with Vale...;) Also if RDP won't be hired by Tech3 he could end up in second Ducati team this time on Factory spec Duc. And i don't expect Rossi will get an easy job in Yamaha - this time Lorenzo is the boss - Vale is a looser - born again...junior. I would like to see Valentino M1 beaten by Dovi Ducati. It's strangely possible scenario for me. Fingers crossed for Dovi! Let him be the Desmosedici's italian discoverer who repeated Casey's challenge.
The good thing is that this time Dovi could ask for anything before signing any papers and there's probably a suggestion that if Ducati motoGP will be a story taking him nowhere he finally will join WSBK riding Panigale.

While Stoners Ducati title did come when factories has special tires, he continued to win on every version of the Ducati racing against Rossi, Lorenzo & Pedrosa.

Ofcourse the single tire rule has hurt Ducati but with the right rider wins were still possible. Stoner was Ducati's "Needle in a hay stack".

He did win every year but the wins became less and the crashes more as he had to push harder and harder to keep the Desmo at the front. And there is no way to say for certain what his results would have been had he stayed on a Ducati as the Honda's and Yamaha's have continued to improve while Ducati have fumbled around.

I think actually these past 2 years have been good for settling the pub arguments about who's the best rider and the whole Rossi vs Stoner thing.

Those who said Stoner was bad had to accept in 2011 he ruled the roost BUT those that said he was some sort of riding God have to watch him reside in 3rd place in the championship as this year the Honda has issues even he can not always ride around.

And Rossi's problems at Ducati have highlighted the effort Stoner put in back then and they have also taken some of the shine off of Rossi's career. But, 2013 will be the year when those who say Rossi is finished will have to eat some humble pie as they see him at the front as a championship contender again.

It really is a shame Stoner is retiring, Stoner and Marquez vs JLo and Rossi would have made for the best season in a long time.

The only way Dovi will be competitive on a Duc next year is if they have some miraculous upgrades coming before the end of the year. I'm not holding my breath.

And so are internet forums unfortunately..... mostly that other site that we don't like to name ;)

Dovi this, Dovi that... will he make a difference under the Red-Tent? Like Rossi, Dovi will take his Honda and Yamaha experience over to Ducati! But unless Ducati actually use his feedback to correct the next GP bike, Dovi will be just the next Italian test mule! Stoner is still the only rider to consistently win for Ducati and Hayden is still the most consistent mid-pack rider Ducati has had... that outperforms Rossi regularly for the last 2 years!!! I hope he does sign for them just so we can see what Cal does and has to say about the whole ordeal.

Default senior rider in Tech 3 is be a pretty good position to be in. He needs to bide his time for a few more years - a factory ride can't be too far in the future.

I don't know why we keep going over the Rossi-Stoner-Ducati pie with Jeremy Burgess and Preziosi thrown in as dressing on the top even in a topic that is about Dovizioso- Ducati-Audi. This ad nauseum repetition of Stoner Vs Rossi will never be resolved to anyone's (meaning Stoner of Rossi fans') satisfaction. Despite some huge optimism in some of the arguments about Audi transforming Ducati, I continue to remain a sceptic when it comes to that line of thinking and arguing. It is upto Ducati and Philippo Preziosi to design a Ducati that can win. Audi does not have a magic wand. Rest assured of that. I think Preziosi needs riders who will allow him to work the way he likes and adapt themselves to the bike he produces rather than the other way round. For that you need characters who are gritty and everything to gain and at least a few axes to grind. Dovizioso is not one of them.

I agree that too much is made of Audi's intervention, they don't have the magic formula.
I can see it being a typical German aquisition, own it a couple of years and asset strip it, particular desmodronic technology. Then move on leaving it to the Chinese or the abyss.

From what I've seen at close quarters, Audi have a typically Germanic, long term approach to investment. Rest assured, they are in for the long run. Had they bought Ducati three or so years ago, the systematic approach that has brought serial victories at the Le Mans 24hours, developed the Veyron and built a world brand out of a former manufacturer of asthmatic two stroke cars, could well have brought them and Vale multiple world championships. As it is, the Ducati works well in the predominantly wet conditions under which it was developed and only then. Vehicles developed by Audi work well in all conditions. They systematically develop the vehicle, the driver, the crew - the whole package - into winners. The process has already started with Ducati announcing the setting up of a junior team and the intention to bring young riders on board. Dovi is effectively a test rider for the future. So watch out Honda and Yamaha. It's Audi (and BMW when they come to MotoGP) that you need to worry about. In less than five years time (maybe as few as three) they will have your ass.

While this article by David is about Dovizioso, I want to echo the comments by Cloverleaf. Audi has demonstrated at every level of racing that when they commit it is for the long haul. And just as importantly, they do not take much time to become the top dog. In rally racing, Trans Am, and most recently in Le Mans prototypes, they have never needed more than ONE season to get their first win.

One might say that if it has four wheels then they can do so, but I believe and have read respected authors / columnists say it is their culture. Indeed, it is the culture of Audi because the works teams and chief personnel were not the same for the 3 programs mentioned above.

I do not want to speculate as to how Ducati will perform next year, but I feel confident saying that Audi's involvement will be more than just money; it will be an infusion of spirit, technical excellence, and team direction. They will not make Ducati just a nameplate (like Chevrolet in the CART days); it will be a company reborn. That sounds a bit poetic so let me stop now before I get worse.

Audi may not know anything about motorcycles, but knowledge can be bought. It's unfortunate they were unable to woo Furusawa but I'd bet there's some other really good talent they can poach from somewhere.

My reason for (guarded) optimism for Ducadi for 2013:

There are two ways to design a winning racing vehicle of any sort. One is to make a technological/design breakthrough, or create at least a different method of going racing. The rear-engined formula car did so. It's what I think Ducati actually pulled off in 2007, and has been trying to replicate that success since then, with this year's "lion" motor and the 2009 carbon-fiber chassis-less bike.

The other way is to refine the existing package/paradigm. This is where massive factory backing (Honda and Yamaha) comes in. You start with the established race-winner, take a bunch of brainpower, add in the resources to build and develop whatever they come up with, and keep at it year after year. If someone else makes a major breakthrough, copy it and refine it.

If Audi really is willing to put the money into the project, what it means is that Ducati will have the capability to play the game that Yamaha and especially Honda play - trying new ideas in days and weeks, throwing away the stuff that doesn't have promise, and refining the stuff that does. It's a vicious game of diminishing returns, and it's bloody expensive, but it usually works in the long run. In Hayden's latest comments, that's what it sounds like he's asking for. Swinging for the fences succeeds occasionally (and spectacularly), but often results in striking out (and often equally spectacularly).

About a decade ago, Carlos Checa was riding the factory YZR500 and complained that his biggest problem was that the bike was never the same two race weekends in a row - that he was constantly adapting to new parts and new developments. I think what would be worse is finishing 30 seconds behind the leader - and showing up at the next race to find the exact same motorcycle in your garage.

instead of the bridesmaid? More housekeeping for David.
It really suprised me to read that some (one?) still think all you have to do is find people who can ride the Ducati.
On the basis that the definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same thing and expecting different results, Preziosi would have to be mad to think that the dynamic mess that the Ducati clearly is (when viewed from the MGP pinacle) just needs a suitable rider.
How many are there that can do that? (and I don't want to open up a Stoner discussion, but it's questionable whether he could make the current machine podium on a dry track). And when (not if) it goes pear-shaped and that rider has broken bones, who rides it then? If Ducati/Preziosi think Hayden is good to go for another year, does that mean he has new clause in his contract that enables his loose-riding gene? That would be a manufacturers title then - that should please Audi.
I just cannot see how.......

As I eluded to in my previous post there are huge design problems at Ducati. Under Preziosi's leadership this has become a culture of engineering lacking aggressive results-driven development programs. Ducati needs new engineering design leadership and it's going to take time and money to bring this about and to see results. Audi money and engineering resources will help but the change of management and culture has to come from within Ducati and it remains to be seen that this is possible.

I for one am deeply sceptical that a) Audi the new owners are going to bring a massive infusion of tech know-how that's somehow going to revolutionise the Desmosedici; and b) that Dovi can succeed where only Stoner has so far.

Audi have bought Ducati as a money-making venture. It's a huge name and its bikes are selling well despite zero wins in MotoGP since Stoner left. Keeping Rossi was probably a priority for Audi given the brand-cult that surrounds him. Now that he's left, and the team for 2013 consists of two decidedly second-string riders, I can't see how Audi would give as much priority to MotoGP.

I understood the problems with upgrade parts are that Ducati don't have the capability (resources) to manufacture things fast enough--and that's what Audi are supposed to be bringing to the table. Ducati motorcycle expertise and Audi manufacturing/prototyping horsepower. Everyone assumes that Ducati/Preziosi WON'T make the changes Rossi wants--maybe it's that they simple CAN'T. Perhaps they're as frustrated as the rest of us. It must have been tough to promise major upgrades for Laguna and then not be able to deliver them.

As for Rossi/Lorenzo: In any sport, at the top level, it's all mental. Rossi has gone from the GOAT with the untarnished reputation looking over his shoulder at the arrogant young upstart, to a place where HE is now the challenger and Lorenzo is the guy with the target on his back. If Rossi relaxes and goes back to having fun, he'll love the challenge and I believe the results will come. Whether that's better than Lorenzo remains to be seen, but Rossi won't make a fool of himself or Yamaha that's for sure IMHO.

I have said in one of my posts that riders must adapt to motorcycles as much as engineers trying to create a situation favourable for a rider. Stoner has echoed exactly those sentiments when he said there is no point in talking about which style suits what bike. I think Rossi came undone because he wanted Ducati to create a bike of his choice and I think there was also a bit of contempt for Stoner there. I clearly remember that in 2011 when Rossi suggested a different swing arm mounting for the 1000cc and when the 1000cc was tested he came back from the test saying that that "this is now more like MY bike" and then when the 1000cc engine was bored down to 800cc to let him ride "his" bike "his" way he yet again came a cropper. It is all in the mind set. Kevin Schwantz always rode an ill handling Suzuki and won races and a world championship on it. Gritty riders prepared to give it their all are no longer there in MotoGP. Dovizioso is not a gritty rider, for sure. He is not going to bite his lip, swallow the pain and hustle the Ducati; that much is for sure. If Audi is this wonderful technology provider why aren't they in F1? Put Audi in F1 and it will go the Toyota, Honda, BMW and Mercedes way. When they aren't competing in a series that is more of a natural home for them due to whatever reasons, I do not see them coming and changing things in MotoGP. If they had the know how to build bikes, they need not have paid through their nose for Ducati, buying the company with its liabilities and all. They could have just started building their own bikes. I really hope that people will stop seeing silver linings where there aren't any.