Cat Fight! Rossi Rips Ducati Approach; Stoner Defends Boys From Bologna
by staff
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi made waves late last week when he told English media that Ducati never made substantial progress during his ill-fated two-year tenure with the team because team management didn't trust his criticism of the GP11 and GP12.

"When you speak with Yamaha and Honda, but especially with Yamaha, and you say something wrong about the bike, for the Japanese engineer it is not something bad," Rossi said. "It is something positive because they understand the way to improve the bike, and with Ducati this doesn't happen.

"So when you say you have a problem, first the Ducati guys don't trust you 100 percent. And secondly, they are quite angry because you say the bike has a problem."

Longtime paddock observers and media whispered last season about stare-downs between Rossi and former Ducati technical boss Filippo Preziosi during preseason testing and early in the season. The story has it that an emotional Rossi often would tell Preziosi about a problem he felt through his hands, feet and butt on the bike, and engineer-to-the-core Preziosi coldly would deny such a problem existed because it didn't show up in the team's telemetry data.

The Preziosi Principle gained moral support from the other side of the Earth last weekend. Casey Stoner, the only consistent winner on a Ducati during the MotoGP era, told media while visiting the Australian Grand Prix Formula One race that Rossi was inflexible in his approach at Ducati in 2011 and 2012.

Stoner said the unique characteristics of the Ducati, especially the carbon-fiber chassis from 2009-11, required riders to change their style to adapt to the bike. It wasn't Ducati's responsibility to change the bike to suit Rossi, Stoner said.

"His mistake was that he wanted to adapt the bike to his riding style and not vice-versa," Stoner said of Rossi.

Stoner also said he would have won more than 23 races over four seasons at Ducati if the team had poured as much money and effort into changing its bikes to suit his style, as the Boys from Bologna did with Rossi. Rossi recorded no victories and three podium finishes in his two seasons at Ducati.


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