The new season is upon us, and the goal remains to win. This can only be the target for the Ducati Aruba team, as confirmed by the Team Principal Stefano Cecconi, back like the whole team from a decidedly rollercoaster year between fantastic victories and bitter defeats.
"We didn't expect such a start to the season last year - he declared - We were convinced that we could do well but not to win eleven races in a row by such large margins. In any case, we know that it was something special and difficult to repeat, and we don’t really care about winning all the races; I would swap the wins immediately with many placings if this would lead to the title".
How do you see your riders after the tests?
“Davies doesn’t push hard in tests and we know that, while Redding impressed us: he is a great professional, in spite of how he may seem on social media; when he enters the pits he really changes personality, almost too much (laughs). We are calm, we have done our homework and Ducati has brought us a lot of new stuff: at Jerez the rain didn’t help, even though Scott was happy to lap in the wet to get used to it".
Can Scott already win at Phillip Island?
"Phillip Island is a track where he can surprise everyone as it adapts to his style, which is similar in some respects to that of Alvaro. It remains to be seen how he will go at circuits he doesn’t know like Imola, even though in BSB he won on some really demanding tracks".
For Davies, on the other hand, can we talk about the last resort?
“Obviously Chaz wants to stop being runner-up and make the final step. He has the right age and maturity to do it, he has never been a rider who immediately goes quick on a bike he doesn’t know, but once he has found his confidence, he has always shown what he’s capable of. Were the season to go very badly, it would be a problem for everyone, but if it goes the way we expect it to, there will be no problems. I don't think the contract expiry can distract him; he has never been disturbed by this sort of thing”.
A weak point of both riders?
“As far as Chaz is concerned, the tests, since he has always been a race animal and sometimes, he is missing in the tests, but we all know this. He is also very sensitive to changes, which can be positive or negative. We still have to discover a weakness in Scott, it’s too early to say anything."
How do you see their relationship? First impressions seem positive.
“First of all, I would say that with our Ducati Superbike riders we could make a basketball team (laughs), but apart from that we have always had two very different riders physically and therefore different needs. Chaz and Scott have similar needs despite their styles, and there is a good relationship between them, which I hope will grow race after race also in collaboration."
At manufacturer level, it seems to be a four-way race for the title, no longer between Kawasaki and Ducati…
"Yamaha have improved a lot and Toprak has now emerged, and obviously we expect the arrival of HRC also knowing the value of Alvaro. I hope this can also be a help for us: there could be a difficult weekend, and in that case, it would be useful if someone could take away points from Rea, who as we know is really very consistent. In recent years we have become accustomed to the serial winner in different sports. We need something to change…”