Sete Gibernau vital for Ducati in 2009

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Ducati race boss Claudio Domenicali believes that Sete Gibernau can play a pivotal role in helping the Bologna factory reclaim the MotoGP world crown in 2009.

Having dominated in the first 800cc four-stroke campaign in 2007, Ducati and Casey Stoner played second fiddle to a resurgent Valentino Rossi and Yamaha last season.

In a bid to win back the title, Ducati will field five bikes in 2009, with Spanish veteran Gibernau stepping out of retirement to bolster the line-up, which includes Aussie Stoner and Nicky Hayden in the factory team.

Gibernau, who has won nine premier class races and twice been runner-up to record-breaking Italian Rossi, will ride for the new Onde 2000 Ducati next season and Domenicali reckons his experience will prove invaluable in turning the new carbon fibre chassis GP9 into a winner.

“We have a long relationship with Sete, and so we're happy he's back on our bike. He's an experienced rider, and so of course his opinion will be valuable for us.

"The fact he will be in a satellite team doesn't make a difference because the bike is pretty similar, and we have race engineers from the factory in his team, so we have the possibility to get feedback test-by-test and race-by-race.

"So I think that it's a big advantage, because the higher the number of riders, the more feedback you have.

"Of course we have to take care not to get confusion because sometimes the opinions are different, so it will be up to Filippo Preziosi in the end to decide the line of development, and to follow one way or the other when the opinions are different,“ said Domenicali.

Do you think Gibernau will make an impact on his return, and how crucial will he be to Ducati’s development? Post a comment below.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt