Galvanized by the company’s latest and official sales statistics and motivated by the new Diavel Diesel version, Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati, toasts (with an authentic Prosecco) the 2017 season that is about to begin: the SBK tests in Jerez and the MotoGP tests in Sepang will begin in a few days and there seems to be an excellent attitude: “In 2017, Ducati is a very solid and financially stable company, therefore it is only right and appropriate to work in the racing world. We are investing a lot of money for the factory teams in both categories, with items connected to technological development and building the teams with the important riders we have.”
After an excellent 2016, what would you like to achieve this season?
“Last year in SBK, Davies set the record for wins in the championship and in MotoGP, Iannone and Dovizioso brought home two wins that had been a long time coming in the Top Class. All of this closed out a negative period for Ducati in racing. These things can happen in sports. That said, in 2017, we want to win more than two races in MotoGP and we can certainly set very ambitious goals in SBK, leaving that last phrase open for interpretation by bike fans.”
Does a top-ranked Jorge Lorenzo seem likely to you?
“There are very fast riders in MotoGP: Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, Daniel Pedrosa, Maverick Viñales... Lorenzo is one of them, with his technical characteristics and talent. I don’t know if Jorge will be able to finish in the top two spots. It seems like a very ambitious goal but … we don’t set limits on divine providence and we are well prepared. If Jorge should do that well, it would be an extraordinary result for everyone.”
Do you think that Davies and Melandri could be a hindrance to one another in SBK?
“Chaz is a very mature and well-prepared rider who will certainly do very well. Marco needs to demonstrate and earn the trust that we have given him and, I must say, he began in the best possible way. Speaking of the factory Ducati teams in both championships, our philosophy does not include a leader and a follower. To the contrary, we want a pair of riders who are at the same level, in other words, rivals who challenge one another to win while remaining within the regulations. Last year we were involuntary protagonists of a competition that was too violent but we have talked about that within the company. We want to avoid the recurrence of certain incidents (defined as own goals).”