Ducati admits first half of 2016 hasn't met expectations

Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti has admitted that the Italian manufacturer has failed to live up to expectations in the first half of the MotoGP season.

Ducati admits first half of 2016 hasn't met expectations
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team
Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati Corse Sporting Director
Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team

On the eve of the Austrian Grand Prix, hosted at a track which seems to have been made for the Desmosedici GP, Ciabatti looked back over the first nine races of 2016 speaking with Motorsport.com.

Ironically, the best placed of Ducati's factory riders is Andrea Iannone, precisely the rider the Borno Panigale marque has dropped in favour of Jorge Lorenzo for its much-vaunted 2017 project.

Suzuki-bound Iannone lies eighth in the standings on 63 points - more than the equivalent of four wins (107) behind leader Marc Marquez. 

The situation for Andrea Dovizioso, who is ninth with four points fewer than his teammate, is even less comforting for a team that alarmed its rivals with its speed in pre-season testing, both over a lap and over long runs.

For now, Ducati has to be content with four podium finishes - two for each rider, who between them have accumulated eight retirements (seven as a result of crashes and one mechanical for Dovizioso).

"Clearly, we expected more", admitted Ciabatti. "But on several occasions, our riders and our bike were competitive but for some reason couldn't win. That remains our goal.

"In Qatar we were fast but Iannone made a mistake and crashed, although I do not think we could have beaten Lorenzo to the win.

"In Argentina everyone saw what happened when we had two podiums in the bag, and in Italy I think Iannone could have fought for the win if he hadn't dropped to 13th at the second corner."

Tyre troubles

For Ciabatti, however, one of the things that has negatively affected Ducati the most was the shock therapy Michelin applied to its tyres after Scott Redding scare in Argentina, where his rear tyre delaminated.

"At tracks with low grip, like Jerez, Le Mans and Catalunya, the harder Michelin casing has hurt us," explained the Italian.

"It affected most people, but especially us because the bike was designed around the tyres we used in the winter.

"But it is good that Ducati has proven to be competitive even at tracks where we didn't expect to be," concluded Ciabatti.

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