Claudio Domenicali is not having an easy time of it right now, dealing with Jorge Lorenzo's 'rebirth' but also the regret resulting from not being able to keep him in Ducati. Today is a day of celebration though, as the Ducati CEO was among those presenting the 2018 edition of WDW. “This year we celebrate the tenth edition of a party, a coming together of our fans and their heroes. I think all the riders who come to Ducati appreciate this special link between those buying the bikes, the fans and the company that represents them on track; this union is the beauty of our brand”.
One of the most highly anticipated moments of WDW is the Race of Champions, where the current Borgo Panigale riders, along with some past legends, take each other on riding the Panigale V4.: “We hope they go easy on each other (he laughs). We came up with this race to give something back to the ducatisti, with the best Ducati riders on Panigale bikes in the colours of their respective teams. It will be fun and something new that no-one's done before, all part of our desire to look to the future”.
Jorge Lorenzo will be in attendance at WDW of course, his imminent departure still a hot topic.
“Let's say that we've had enough of this talk about the rider leaving - explains Domenicali - Jorge is contracted to Ducati and we're very happy about that, he has twelve races to run with us and we're very pleased that he's doing well. All those trying to jinx it, hoping he stops being fast, are wrong; in the release regarding Petrucci's arrival, I stated how I hoped Jorge can win the title, something that is still very possible. Basically, we're very happy to have two riders who can aim for success right from the start of every weekend”.
As the CEO himself has said, there's no point dwelling on the fact that the real Jorge Lorenzo has only emerged now, too late in the day.
“We chose Jorge thinking that he could be strong, and it's unfortunate that it has taken eighteen months to get on the right track, but we're not ones to look back. Therefore, we will try to win the title together this year, then next year we'll do our best to beat him, trying to get Danilo (Petrucci) out in front of Jorge, something that might seem impossible for now, but nothing is impossible”.
Changing category and touching on Superbike, the subject of the new Panigale V4 and when it might take to the track is raised: “The bike is in development and there are various things to sort out. The engine is developing well but we're only about half way there”.