Cal Crutchlow backs Dall’Igna to lead Ducati revival

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British rider Cal Crutchlow has backed new Ducati boss Gigi Dall’Igna to lead the Bologna factory out of its current slump.

Crutchlow and Dall’Igna got their first opportunity to size up the task of making the woeful Desmosedici competitive again in 2014 when they began their new Ducati adventure together in Valencia last month.

Crutchlow found the going tough on the current GP13 machine and his first Ducati appearance saw him finish outside of the top 10 and well over one second off the fastest pace.

But in a recent interview with MCN, the former World Supersport champion said he is confident ex-Aprilia boss Dall’Igna is the man to spearhead a Ducati revival.

Crutchlow said: “I’ve sat down with Gigi and asked him if he is going to build a new bike and he said he is going to work to make it work. Of course I hope they come with a new bike. When it is going to come and if that is what they are going to do then I don’t know. But I believe and trust him.

I like his attitude and he is like me and direct and straight to the point. He is going to ask a lot of the riders but that’s what we want. There is no doubt he wants us at the front. Andrea (Dovizioso) was close the front last year on a Yamaha and I was at the front this year on a good package, so clearly the riders are good enough”

Dall’Igna might not be the last throw of the dice for Ducati, but he close to it.
He’s the third man at the helm of Ducat Corsei in less than a year after the disastrous two-year stint with Rossi cost long-serving technical guru Filippo Preziosi his job.

Ex-BMW World Superbike boss Bernhard Gobmeier lasted less than a year and after presiding over a dire 2013, he was relieved of his duty.

Dall’Igna has won 125, 250 and World Superbike titles for Aprilia and his ART 1000cc MotoGP blitzed the CRT category in 2012 and 2013.

Beating Honda and Yamaha in MotoGP though is a whole different ball game, particularly when starting from so back.

“This is a big challenge for me, “said Dall’Igna. “It is not an easy job because Ducati is coming from two or three very difficult years, so we have to change a lot. I won a lot in the past but not in MotoGP. This is the only class where I didn’t have any results and this is my last challenge.

I would like to win in MotoGP and I have joined a team with good knowledge that really wants to win in MotoGP. And I think Ducati is the only European manufacturer that can do this.”

Dall’Igna’s first mission will be to implement a restructure of Ducati Corse to improve the communication chain between the staff working at the track and those dedicated to R&D back in Bologna.

Dall’Igna quickly identified a lack of cohesive co-operation between those at the track and those at the factory.

Resolving that issue will be top of his priority list before he even contemplates the monstrous challenge of fixing the Desmosedici.

Dall’Igna said: “I have realised there are two completely different units inside Ducati
Corse. One is the race track unit and one is the people back in Bologna. The first job will be to join these two together properly because the information has to flow between the track and the factory well and fast to improve the bike as soon as possible. We need to make it easier to share information between the two parts.”

When asked if Ducati’s main weakness was technical or organisational, Dall’Igna said: “I think both. But you can only solve the technical problem if you have the right organisation. I would like to improve the organisation and after that we have to work on the technical problems. Ducati has people on a high level, so I will also put my experience in this project and I hope we can improve and find a way to put Ducati in a position that everybody wants.”

Dall’Igna was coy about putting time frames on when he would hope to see Ducati challenging to win for the first time since 2010.

He added:  “Nobody asked me to win by a specific date but in my opinion within two years we will have a bike that you can play for the world championship.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt