Nicky Hayden and Ducati MotoGP boss Paolo Ciabatti believe Claudio Domenicali’s recent appointment as CEO of the Bologna factory can only be a major plus for its MotoGP and WSB projects.
Domenicali took charge of Ducati after the sudden and shock departure of Gabriele del Torchio, who left to head up Italy’s national airline Alitalia.
Domenicali is renowned for his love of racing and he has previously been an influential figurehead for Ducati Corse, the racing arm of the Italian brand.
So his rise through the ranks from young engineer to the running the show can only be a positive for Ducati’s MotoGP effort, says 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden.
"It is nice to have somebody in charge who knows racing and likes it and doesn’t think it is just a silly expense and doesn't understand why they are spending all that money on testing.
"He knows that the testing that we're doing does help the company and it does make for better street bikes. I don't know how much it will change the racing but I don’t see it as a bad thing.
"If you’ve talked to Claudio there’s no doubt he’s a pretty smart guy and he knows a lot about not just racing,“ said Hayden.
The sudden departure of del Torchio came out of the blue, with Ciabatti admitting he was in the dark until his move to Alitalia leaked out in the press.
Ciabatti, who has been a close associate of Domenicali’s for several years, told MCN: “The decision came as a bit of a surprise. We learned from the speculation in the press and then everything moved very quickly.
"Obviously Gabriele has been managing the company very successfully, also through very difficult economic times. I think the natural choice was Claudio because he has been in the company for a lot of years and he is the only person who is able to take the position without any drama.
"The fact that Claudio knows Ducati better than anybody else and he has been in charge of Ducati Corse since the beginning, I think it can only help us.
"I have known Claudio since he was a young engineer and I think it is positive and I am glad that the top management in Audi gave him this position because it shows that they have full confidence in his capability as a manager and not only an engineer.”