Ducati Corse director and Ducati's engineering guru Filippo Preziosi was a busy man at Misano. Besides overseeing the race weekend at the circuit and preparing for the test on Monday, Preziosi spent a lot of time talking to a number of journalists. MotoMatters.com was one of the lucky few who were offered ten minutes with Preziosi, and so we jumped at the chance. In the interview, Preziosi covered a number of topics: the Ducati junior team strategy, Ducati's four riders for 2013, the current and expected developments for next season were all among the subjects discussed. Preziosi also talked about the effect of the spec ECU which will be introduced for 2014, and gave the impression he was not necessarily opposed to the idea. Below is what Preziosi had to say to us:
MotoMatters.com: Next year you have the Ducati junior strategy in place. Can you explain how you see that working in terms of development? Will you have four equal riders or two riders who get equipment ahead of the other two?
Filippo Preziosi: I think the main difference between next year and the years before is that we agreed that every development that will be developed by the company will be supplied to the satellite team by default. In the past it was an option that the satellite teams had, but there are some commercial issues, so sometimes they did it, sometimes they didn't. Now we are more close, so when we develop something for our factory team, we want to supply to the satellite teams, if the riders like the changes. So we would like to be as strong as we can.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's race at Misano:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying for Sunday's race at Misano:
The main protagonist in Friday's action was the weather. Like a hormonal teenage girl, the rain simply could not make up its mind whether it was going to fall properly or not, light drizzle blowing in for ten minutes before blowing out again five minutes later. (Hormonal teenage boys, it should be noted, know exactly what they want, and apart from the obvious, what they want is the opposite of whatever they have just been told). The weather left the track in that awful half-and-half condition, too cold and damp for slicks, too dry for wets, and the track conditions left the MotoGP men mostly sitting in the pits.
Dani Pedrosa explained it best. "Too wet, so you cannot push, so the tire cools down immediately after you go out, and in or two laps you have to stop, because there is no temperature in the tire. And with the wets, it's completely the opposite, the tire is immediately out of the working range, and one or two laps and it is gone." Even in the short period you could go out, there was nothing to be learned, Pedrosa said. "If the tire has too much temperature or too little temperature, the bike feels completely different. There's no meaning in going out."
Friday press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Misano:
The provisional MotoGP line up for the 2013 season so far:
The return to Misano was always going to be an emotional affair, the first time MotoGP has returned to Marco Simoncelli's home circuit - now renamed in his honor - since the Italian fan favorite was killed in a tragic accident at Sepang last October. Though Simoncelli is being remembered in many different ways during the weekend - nearly all of the riders in all three classes joined for a lap of the track by bicycle this evening - the remembrance has been cheerful rather than mawkish, a celebration of his life rather than mourning at his death. Fans, riders, mechanics, photographers, journalists, many have made the pilgrimage to Coriano, Simoncelli's home town just a few short miles from the track, paid their respects and headed to the circuit feeling better for the experience. Simoncelli's ghost may haunt the paddock at Misano, but happily, he does so in the guise of Casper rather than Banquo.
There is more than enough to keep the minds of those present engaged. Uppermost in most people's minds is Ben Spies decision to go to Ducati to race in the Ducati junior team to be run by Pramac. Both of the 2013 factory Ducati riders welcomed the signing of both Spies and Andrea Iannone, with Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden saying it was a good decision by Ducati. Both Spies and Iannone had proven their speed, and Spies experience at the factory Yamaha team would be very valuable to Ducati in helping to develop the bike. There was surprise at Spies' decision - "I thought he would go to World Superbikes" Dovizioso told reporters - and both men were interested to see how he would perform on the Ducati.
With all of MotoGP's factory seats filled, and most of the satellite seats occupied as well, we can start to draw up a list of who goes where in 2013 and beyond. Though three satellite spots remain open, those, too, could be filled soon, probably before the MotoGP paddock reconvenes at Misano in just over a week's time.
The big question mark, of course, is what will happen to the CRT teams. Though CRT has proven to be a very cheap way of entering MotoGP, the CRT machines are still a long way from being competitive, the Aprilia-powered ART machines of the Aspar team having gotten closest so far, occasionally nipping at the heels of the satellite prototypes. With a spec ECU to be introduced for the CRT bikes in 2013, and a rev limit and spec ECU for all of MotoGP - CRT and prototype - in 2014, the CRT teams will have to grit their teeth for another year and target the hindmost of the satellite bikes. Dorna has little choice but to subsidize the bikes for another year, until the playing field is leveled.
That doesn't mean that we cannot make some educated guesses at who will ride for the Claiming Rule Teams in 2013. Below is a list of what we already know for 2013, as well as a few educated guesses as to who will take the spots still left vacant. Here is the 2013 MotoGP line up so far:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Sunday's race at Brno:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after qualifying at Brno:
Friday would prove to be an eventful first day of practice at Brno. Thrills, spills and plenty of flag waving, mostly of the red variety, as crashes played havoc with the day's schedule. It started in the morning, during FP1 for MotoGP, when Valentino Rossi ran wide in the final corner and his rear wheel kicked up a couple of sizable rocks. The rocks hit Dani Pedrosa, on the top of his foot and the front of his fairing, destroying the screen. How fast was he going when he was hit by the rocks, one intrepid reporter asked? "I don't know my speed," Pedrosa quipped, "but the rocks were going like they were shot out of a gun."
And they weren't small rocks either. Asked what size they were, Pedrosa held up both hands, touching thumbs and forefingers together to make a circle. "Like this," he said. About the size of a grapefruit, then. Pedrosa said he had been worried that the impact had broken a bone in his foot, and the Spaniard was limping visibly as he got off his Repsol Honda, but the pain subsided as the session continued, reassuring him that there was nothing broken, just banged up and bruised.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Brno:
After the news that Valentino Rossi was to make a return to Yamaha after two disastrous seasons at Ducati, Yamaha's press officers were inundated with requests for interviews with Yamaha Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis at Brno. To accommodate as many people as possible, Yamaha held a press conference to answer the questions that all of the assembled media wanted to put to them.
The subjects covered during the press conference were the motivation for signing Rossi after his two-year absence, whether Jorge Lorenzo had been consulted on the deal, and the pecking order inside the team. Jarvis also discussed the possibility of Jeremy Burgess and his crew joining Rossi at Yamaha, as well as commenting positively on Ben Spies' performance over the past season.
But first he was asked why Yamaha had decided to sign Rossi after the Italian had left on not entirely amicable terms. "The reason to have Valentino back is the seven years of excellent history we had together," Jarvis replied. "We had Valentino with us for seven years, we won four world titles together and we made a great history in the sport and also a lot of positive publicity for Yamaha together. So finally, the reason for having Valentino back is to come back to the good times. The divorce, I'd like to say, was not in my opinion a bad divorce. Of course, any separation has its issues, but we have remained on good terms as Yamaha with Valentino since."