Less than a month to go and MotoGP will start up again for one of the most unusual seasons of its history. The riders will have to face a tight schedule, with 13 races in 18 weeks, with almost no breaks to catch their breath. A real tour de force that will involve all the people who work in the paddock, from managers, mechanics, engineers, to hospitality members.
Davide Tardozzi, Ducati team manager, tells us how the Ducati Team is preparing and what he expects from this championship.
"It is clear that it is a demanding calendar for the organization, also because we have had to start all over again what we had already done during the winter - he explains - We had to prepare ourselves again, but it was only a matter of time, we had to do a lot of things quickly, adapt to the security protocol".
“We had a new hospitality for this season, but we had to make a tent that we will mount outside the kitchen truck where the team will eat. It will be a bit like going back to the old days (laughs)".
There will be a lot of limitations to adhere to...
“Dorna's procedures will have to be followed, so practically you can only stay in the paddock or in a hotel. For example, you will not be able to go to a restaurant to eat together; there won't be any moments of leisure time, if we want to call them that”.
The work in the box will also change, because you have to respect the distance of 2 metres. Will everything be slower?
“It will be possible to work close together, for example several people on the same bike, provided that you wear protective goggles, a mask and a plastic visor. Dressed like this it will be a bit of a nuisance, especially in the heat, but I don't think there will be any particular slowdowns in work. We have had more than one meeting with Dorna and IRTA on these procedures, which have also been modified on the basis of our suggestions, this makes me satisfied”.
Will talking to the riders during practice sessions be a problem?
"Obviously you cannot put a rider who has just got off the bike behind a plexiglass, as well as a mask, because he needs to breathe. We are gearing up to solve the problem: either by making the team members take all precautions, such as visors, or by putting a microphone connected to our headsets that allows everyone to hear what the rider says. We will try this system in Misano next week, that test will be a dress rehearsal for the first Grand Prix ".
Each official team will have 45 members, is that enough?
“They have been increased by 5 at the request of some Japanese teams. I think it's a fair number, MotoGP requires more staff than the other classes but it doesn't create any problems for us. "
Bierer, KTM motorsport director, said he was concerned about the possibility of creating staff of engineers who work remotely, as happens in Formula 1. Is it possible to do it in MotoGP?
"I also read what he said but I had never heard of this possibility before. Honestly I did not understand what he meant, no one has ever spoken officially about this and I would not know what to answer. To do a job like Formula 1 would require telemetry, which we don't have, we only have data acquisition. They can do a certain type of work because they download data in real time and can act on the car, in motorcycles the situation is very different. That's all I can comment on."
Does such a tightly packed schedule with few breaks affect the technicians and other team members?
“It will certainly be stressful, but we all enjoy our work. We love the races much more than we love ourselves, we will gladly make this sacrifice. "
On the other hand, how will the riders have to tackle this season, will they be more careful not to take risks?
“I think the fastest guy will always win. There will certainly be less margin for error, but I don't think the levels on the track will change much, there will be no big differences. It is an apprehension born from reasoning done at home, when the championship will start everything will be the same as always. If anything, there will be more stress in the first few races due to all the safety protocols to follow, but I hope that over time they can be loosened to enable us to return to a more normal situation ".
Looking at the tracks where you are going to race, do you think there are any favourite bikes or riders?
“First of all I want to say that Dorna has done a tremendous job to organize this calendar and in my opinion it is well-balanced and right for this moment. It could not have been done otherwise."
Will it change a lot to race on some tracks at different times of the year?
“We will lose some benchmarks, Michelin will have to adapt the choice of tyres at higher temperatures without having tested them in those conditions. There will be some question marks, but we will be able to sort everything, the knowledge to adapt is there”.
What is your opinion on the double race in consecutive weeks?
“It will help less the instinctive riders and more those who need more time to find the right set-up, less the best-prepared teams and the ones who are usually a bit late in preparation. There are pros and cons, but in my opinion the results of the two races will change little, even if they will not be identical ".
Meanwhile, your two riders, Dovizioso and Petrucci, will return to racing soon but in motocross, in the regional championship of Emilia-Romagna. Do you have any concerns?
"There is always a bit of apprehension, but training on the track with a road or dirt track bike does not cause less concern. Both Andrea and Danilo are very good at motocross and will take all the necessary precautions. I have a minimum of concern, I have confidence in the intelligence and ability of my riders, but it comes from the other competitors, I would not want anyone to do anything stupid to pass them just because they find themselves in front of Dovizioso or Petrucci ".
Is it very useful for a rider to go back to a real race before the start of the championship?
"This is a positive aspect, they will be able to resume their aptitude for racing. I don't think they lost it, but everything affects them because we are talking about details and perhaps this season they are even more important than usual. "