Ducati Happy Being Third Best

Ducati unveiled their latest MotoGP bike at their Bologna headquarters today, which they hope will bring their four year win-less streak to an end. The GP15 isn’t simply an evolution of a previous bike, it’s a completely new design -the first since Audi’s acquisition of the Italian team.

It’s been nearly three years since Audi bought Ducati, and for it to take this long to build a new bike, you would expect it to be an unstoppable force. Many thought that they’ve been slowly piecing together a bike that could dominate races in much the same way as their sister team, Volkswagen did in WRC. But according to Ducati themselves, that is not the case.

The Ducati team just finished their most successful season in recent years with three podiums. With their new bike I thought the minimum would be to win, but that the aim would be a podium a race. But I am absolutely shocked that they want one win. That’s right, they want one, not expect. Not only that, but the team manager called this goal “very ambitious”.

Calling a goal “very ambitious” is effectively saying that it would be a great achievement, but you don’t expect to get it. Where is the motivation? What big competitor in any sport puts together a fresh challenge without the expectation to win? Why would you build an entire new bike and not build it to win?

Since Audi took over, the team has lost two of the fastest riders in the field, Cal Crutchlow at the end of last season, and the nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi the previous year. Their current pairing of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone could be interesting, both have been consistent riders and are fast qualifiers. Who wins in the battle of the Andreas may be the only interesting thing at Ducati this season.

How fast the new bike is remains to be seen. It will first hit the track in Malaysia next week at the second pre-season test. However it’s real pace won’t be known until next month’s first race. But if Ducati’s words are anything to go by, don’t expect much!

Head over to the team’s website to see photos of the new bike and read the full press release and let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. Am I being too harsh on Ducati, or is it important to get that one win and build from there?

-SC

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2 thoughts on “Ducati Happy Being Third Best”

  1. I wonder if Ducati is trying to give itself a soft place to land in the case that they don’t do well? Both Andreas focused on Ducati’s progress, and they both explained that they were “optimistic” (but not necessarily certain) about the season. Maybe Ducati’s CEO and manager are instructing their drivers to take on an “ambitious” tone, with an emphasis on their hard work, so that potential success will seem well-earned, and any chance of failure will appear less disappointing.

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