Nancy Knapp Schilke
The final switch of MotoGP riders for the top manufacturers’ factory teams seems to have come to an end when Ducati signed Andrea Dovizioso for two years: 2013 and 2014. The musical seat changes started when the two time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner announced he was retiring at the end of the season.
“The agreement reached with Andrea Dovizioso confirms the company’s primary interest in racing, which is an active and strategic part of Ducati’s DNA and heritage,” said President Gabriele Del Torchio. “It is with great pleasure that I welcome Andrea, as we marshal our best efforts in confronting the MotoGP World Championship”
Andrea’s technical sensibility and test-riding abilities are of great value, as are his talent and determination.
On May 17th this year, Stoner stated: ”After a long time thinking, a lot of time talking with my family and my wife, this has been coming for a couple of years now, but at the end of this 2012 season I will be not racing in the 2013 Championship. I will be finishing my career at the end of this season in MotoGP, and go forward in different things in my life.”
On July 12th, the Repsol Honda works team named Moto2 Honda rider, Marc Márquez, to partner with Dani Pedrosa for 2013.
Prior to the first of the two 2012 grand prix events on American soil, Ben Spies announced he was leaving the Yamaha Factory Team at the end of the current season. Not only will the American leave the team, but he alluded that he is actually departing – for now – the top premier bike prototype series.
Spies let the world know his thoughts on a Tweet: "I'm extremely happy to push for the rest of the season to my fans and myself next year starts a new chapter. And yes I'm pumped!"
During the break between the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca MotoGP race and the recent Indianapolis Grand Prix, Yamaha announced they had signed Valentino Rossi. Lin Jarvis Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing said "This announcement is once again excellent news for Yamaha. In June we were able to sign Jorge Lorenzo for the 2013-14 campaign and now we are able to confirm Valentino Rossi for the next two years. In doing so we have been able to put together the strongest possible team to challenge for victories.”
The Italian who has notched six titles in the pinnacle series was on vacation and will finish out the year for the Ducati team. Rossi said when he arrived at Indianapolis: “These two seasons are very difficult, and we struggling very much. Unfortunately, we were not able to improve our speed, our performance, and to fight for the good position, for the front position.
“So I decide for this that it is enough and my choice is because I try to understand which is the best bike, the more competitive bike for the next two years that maybe at the end of my career or, you know, but anyway, the last part, and this is the choice.”
Now the final piece of the puzzle has been announced. Andrea Dovizioso will leave the Tech 3 Yamaha team for the vacant seat with Ducati. Nicky Hayden will now be the Italian’s teammate, starting in 2013. The two will work together after the end of the 2012 season to prepare for next year's challenge; starting with testing and development of the 2013 Desmosedici. With Audi's new ownership of the famous Italian brand, both riders, along with the Ducati design and engineering staff, to be competitive next year.
The news came after “Dovi” again put on a fine performance by clinching third on the Brickyard’s road course. Last year, Dovizioso was let go by the Repsol Honda team, and the rider he battled with at Indy for the final podium slot was his former teammate and the defending world champion, Stoner.
After the race on the famous North American track, Dovizioso commented: “To be on the podium is a great feeling and a good reward for all our hard work. I also want to pay tribute to Casey today because he delivered a brilliant performance. Physically he wasn't in the best shape but it was still very hard to beat him. Now we got to Brno with a lot of confidence and I'm optimistic that the podium is a realistic target again.”
Del Torchio added, “Along with Nicky Hayden, with whom we have renewed a working agreement, we are confident that we will be able to proceed with our development program, to compete, and to obtain the results and rewards that will repay our efforts and the faith that our partners, sponsors and fans have never failed to demonstrate."
Filippo Preziosi, General Manager of Ducati Corse commented: “Andrea’s technical sensibility and test-riding abilities are of great value, as are his talent and determination. The knowledge that we will have him on our team and be able to count on his collaboration serves as an additional incentive to continue with the growth and development of our MotoGP project.”
Dovizioso has landed on the premier series grand prix podiums 21 times since moving from the 125cc and 250cc bikes. The Italian currently holds fourth in the points this season. “I’m pleased that he has chosen to be a part of our team. He is aware of the work to be done, and he approaches it with enthusiasm and confidence, which are fundamental requirements for achieving success and for competing in this challenging championship,” added Preziosi.