On a red bike and with a glass of red wine in hand, more than a colour it’s became a creed for Gigi Dall’Igna, whom we interviewed making him sit in a Panigale V4 between one toast and another. The general manager of Ducati Corse comes off the back of a year that on paper represented a big gamble, the first without Dovizioso and with many young riders with high hopes but also without a solid curriculum. Twelve months later, the Veneto engineer can be said to have been right, even if the riders’ title has once again slipped through Ducati’s fingers.
“It has been an incredible season, certainly the best since I've been with Ducati - Dall'Igna has no doubts – We did a lot of good things, especially in the last part of the year: 4 victories in the last 6 races, I honestly would also put a fifth at Misano in there even if Pecco crashed because we had decided to take a risk with the tyres. It was a wonderful finish, the last race with 3 of our riders on the front row and on the podium it was something exceptional, stratospheric, a unique emotion that I will always remember ".
You won the constructors' and teams' titles, but did losing the riders’ crown ruin the party?
"No, I think that this was not the year in which we had to aim for the title if I think back at what was said about Ducati at the end of 2020. It was a season in which we had to prepare for success and we did it well, indeed maybe we were above the expectations, it is difficult to have regrets after such a season ”.
Until a few years it was said that only very few people could ride the Desmosedici, now all your riders are fast.
“It hasn't been a transformation that took place in a year, Ducati has been winning with more riders for many seasons, Iannone, Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Petrucci, Bagnaia, Martin, Miller. For some time now we have been getting closer to having a bike that is a little easier and more manageable, it is not an easy goal to achieve, we did it step by step but we succeeded. The Ducati no longer scares the riders, on the contrary it is a bike that they all want because they think they can do well on it”.
In fact, next year there will be eight Ducatis on the track, isn't it difficult to prepare with so many bikes?
"It's not difficult, you need a lot of organization and Ducati has it, we already managed eight bikes in the past and this doesn't scare us. The positive aspects, in addition to the economic one which is not the goal we are racing for, are being able to have more information during the race weekend and during development and to help the riders grow. Next year we will have two young and promising ones (Bezzecchi and Di Giannantonio, ed.) who will start their journey with Ducati ”.
Will Bagnaia be the spearhead rider?
“Honestly, we don't focus on anyone in particular, in the sense that we don't give one rider something better than another. We have the strength to be able to give everyone the same opportunities, then clearly along the way we will evaluate whether during the season there will be the need to make certain reasoning. We are not starting with this in mind. Pecco was Ducati's most in-form rider in the final part of the season, if he starts like this we will obviously look at him with special attention, but at the first race they will all have the same material ”.
Bagnaia seems to be a real Ducati man, do you think he will have a long future with you?
“This is what I expect and what I will try to achieve. As always, to make contracts it takes two, so it will not only depend on us but also on him, but, objectively, it is something that I think we both would like to do ".
You have brought so many technical innovations to MotoGP, is there any room for some more?
“When there is nothing more to add to the bike, it would no longer make sense for me to stay in this environment. I should get another job (laughs). I believe that there are still opportunities to develop the bike and that there are a lot. We have some ideas about the bike, it is taking shape, we will have to evaluate and not make any mistakes in Sepang. I expect to bring something improved for 2022”.
Have you ever ridden the Desmosedici?
“It's a bike that you have to respect, to be polite to, I don't think I would be able to have a lot of fun riding it. I prefer to be a tourist and use the motorbike for travel. On the other hand, I tested the Panigale on the track, but I won’t tell you the times because I would be ashamed (laughs)".
In twelve months’ time, do you think there will be something more to celebrate?
“This is the reason why we will be working hard in this period, both us technicians but also our riders. As always, the championship will start from scratch and with forces on the track that could be different from those previously seen, so the Sepang tests and the work we will do at home will be important”.