Preziosi: the development truth
Filippo Preziosi is keeping a tight hand on the helm of the Ducati technical team, which is currently navigating in difficult waters. While the German winds blowing down from Audi have helped to fill his sails, the criticism from Burgess, indiscretions from Furusawa and departure of Rossi have been sending waves over the bow for quite some time.
Continuous Development – Jeremy Burgess has made some critical statements in recent weeks, claiming that Ducati didn't produce enough updates for the bike. Preziosi responded:"We do continuous development work on the bike, and maybe Jeremy didn't realize that. Early in the season we concentrated on the aluminum swingarm, because that is what Rossi asked of us. We made two versions, but they didn't give us any advantage and we returned to the carbon fiber units, where were also lighter."
And then there was the chassis work: "Our plans called for a new frame, but it required modifications to the engine cases. Motors 3 and 4, sealed at Barcelona and Laguna Seca respectively, have these new modifications. Before the American round we tested a first version of the modified frame, just after the Mugello race. Unfortunately we had to interrupt that test for safety reasons, following the problem with the ECU."
Which brings us closer to Misano: "We are now using a further evolution, and on Monday, after the race, we will try another one with different rigidity levels. In the meantime we have produced another two swingarms, which we tested at Misano, and Valentino chose one of them. There is also a third ready for Monday."
Thanks Masao – Dealing with the first issue, the Italian engineer moved onto the public comments from Furusawa about a meeting the two had together: "Technical meetings at this level are more frequent than you might think. We are talking about very passionate and technical people. I had already met with Furusawa during some GP's, and these are things that happen but usually remain confidential. You need to ask him why he wanted to speak publicly about it. I must confess to being surprised, and I didn't think he would reveal it. On the other hand, I was happy about what he said, because he said I was an excellent engineer with a samurai spirit. Coming from a Japanese person, I think that's a big compliment. In any case, I have a good relationship with him."
I Learned from Rossi – Moving on to perhaps the hottest topic, Preziosi didn't want to say too much: "In these two years I have learned many things from Valentino, both as a person and as an engineer, but I want to discuss them when the season is over. Now we must concentrate on getting the best possible results for Valentino and the ducatisti. We will have time to talk over the winter."
New Faces – 2013 will see the arrival of Dovizioso, Iannone and Spies, which Preziosi seems quite happy about: "We are very curious about having three new riders, one of which has already ridden the Desmosedici and was very enthusiastic about it. The other two will be coming from a very good bike, and at Valencia we can have their immediate impressions on how we compare to the competition. Our future direction will depend on the results of the tests with these latest developments, and also the results of the Valencia test."
Welcome Audi - The acquisition of Ducati by Audi is also viewed by Preziosi as a positive turn of events: "There hasn't been any change yes, because we are still in the very early phases. But I'm relaxed because they are very solid financially, and very strong technically. This makes me confident for the future. When you are a small company, you need to make racing investments with an eye on the bottom line. With Audi perhaps we can worry less about these things."
Translation by Sean Sedacca