Ducati didn't exactly make a clean break from the past at its Wrooom media event this week in the Italian Dolomites despite adding a new rider to its factory team, bringing a junior team and two new riders into the fold and introducing an all-new management team hired by new company owner Audi.
Two names from the recent and distant past still reverberated around the mountains of Madonna di Campiglio - Valentino Rossi and Filippo Preziosi.
The departure of seven-time MotoGP World Champion Rossi from Borgo Panigale after two disastrous seasons still was a main topic of discussion between the media and Ducati Team riders Nick Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso and the new team management.
2006 World Champion Hayden was adamant that Ducati never gave up on Rossi despite The Doctor's often-obvious exasperation with the development of the GP12 and friction with Preziosi.
"Over the past two years, (Ducati) took some unfair criticism saying they didn't try enough to give (Rossi) what he wanted, and I certainly disagree with that," Hayden said. "I think they went above and beyond trying to please him, and unfortunately that was a little bit negative because maybe we tried too hard to improve and made too many big changes during the season."
New Ducati MotoGP project manager Paolo Ciabatti also said Rossi's frustration over his lack of results at Ducati caused him to lose focus during testing of new parts for the GP12, which stunted development.
"It isn't that we don't have confidence in Rossi's feedback," Ciabatti said. "The pressure and the lack of results created a vicious cycle in which he wasn't relaxed enough to completely test the material prepared for him. We simply believe that there is potential and that it wasn't completely explored last year."
Preziosi, the godfather of Ducati's MotoGP project, was pushed to a general research-and-design position in the company last November after a second consecutive season without victories. But new Ducati boss Bernhard Gobmeier said Wednesday he will seek input from Preziosi on technical and other matters.
|It isn't that we don't have confidence in Rossi's feedback," Ciabatti said. "The pressure and the lack of results created a vicious cycle in which he wasn't relaxed enough to completely test the material prepared for him. We simply believe that there is potential and that it wasn't completely explored last year."|
"I personally will draw on the experience of Filippo," Gobmeier said. "We are in contact, and we have an open relationship in terms of bringing the company and Ducati Corse forward. He is still dedicated to the success of our race effort, and with his new role, there will be additional communication between racing and the production side of the business. He will also give input in terms of the history.
"There is a history and why things were done in a certain way. I need to learn a lot of those things that I didn't have the chance to learn in these few days so far. This is quite a normal way of exploring the full potential of what is in the company."