Ever since Casey Stoner decided to pull out of three MotoGP races due to ill health, a tsunami of speculation concerning the state of the Ducati squad has washed over the internet and the written press, with millions of fans and journalists venturing opinions on the subject, while only a few actually had any facts to base those opinions on. None of the protagonists have been particularly easy to reach, nor very forthcoming about the situation.
At Indianapolis, that changed, at least a little. Though we have heard virtually nothing from Casey Stoner, and only brief quotes from the Ducati organization so far, at Indy, Dean Adams of Superbikeplanet sat down with Ducati team boss Livio Suppo for an extended interview. The interview covered many subjects, from the obvious - such as the current state of Casey Stoner's health - to the philosophical - such as the question of whether switching to an 800cc formula made MotoGP more expensive, and raised some interesting points.
Two points were of particular interest, though. The first was the question of why the Ducati is perceived to be such a difficult bike to ride. Suppo denied that a problem existed, pointing out that since Barcelona, the gap between Nicky Hayden's pace on the GP9 and Casey Stoner's was broadly comparable to the gap between Valentino Rossi's and Colin Edwards on the dominate Yamaha M1. Suppo believes that the problem - if you can call it that - is just down to the difference between the four top riders (Rossi, Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa) and the rest of the field. "So in the last seasons, if you don't have one of these top four guys, you don't win races," Suppo told Superbikeplanet.
The Ducati boss also had an interesting take on the financial problems which MotoGP faces. Instead of worrying about cost-cutting, MotoGP should be concentrating on maximizing income, Suppo said. The focus in the Grand Prix Commission was on technical challenges, not financial ones. "We speak about technical issue always, but there's no one commission that's tried to understand how to help each other and try to find more money," Suppo said. Whereas what was needed was a way to generate more income: "It seems to me that in this world, nobody's really focused on how to increase the revenues," Suppo told Superbikeplanet.
There was much, much more in the interview, and Suppo touched on a whole range of subjects. For anyone wanting to understand Ducati's position, and their way of thinking, they really need to go over and read the entire interview.