New Ducati boss Gigi Dall’Igna reckons Ducati could not have better riders than Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow to revive its fortunes in MotoGP.
Ducati has endured a torrid recent history in MotoGP and remains winless since the end of 2010, while last season was a disaster with Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden scoring only two top six finishes each.
Dovizioso has remained at Ducati and the Italian will be re-united with his ex-Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Crutchlow for 2014.
Both have made steady progress during winter testing and Dall’Igna is confident he has the best line-up possible to help make the GP14 a stronger threat to Honda and Yamaha.
Asked by MCN for his opinion on Briton Crutchlow’s impact since joining the Bologna factory last November, Dall’Igna said: “Cal is really funny but he is very important to have inside the box because he helps us smile. He has been doing a really great job and I'm very happy with him."
When he joined Ducati immediately after the last race in Valencia last November, Dall’Igna spoke of how much he was looking forward to working with Dovizioso, who he had admired for some time.
Assessing their early relationship, Dall’Igna added: “Dovi is an important rider for Ducati because he feels very much all the differences of the bike and he has the experience of last year, so he can give me really good feedback to improve the bike. I think we can have good results with both riders. We have the best riders at the moment for Ducati."
Dall’Igna is already making waves in his new role as head of Ducati Corse by steering Ducati into the new Open category to help arrest its sharp recent decline.
One key reason to join the Open class is Ducati will no longer be subject to a freeze on engine development.
The chance to have more freedom to test and develop is vital for Ducati, while the Open rules mean they will also benefit from extra fuel and softer tyres.
If too successful in the Open format though, Ducati will go into a class of its own called Factory 2. If Ducati achieves three third places, two seconds or a win in the dry, its fuel allowance will be slashed from 24 to 22.5 litres and its engine allocation reduced from 12 to nine.