News 4 Nov 2009

MotoGP: Stoner going for third straight win for Ducati in Spain


The Ducati Marlboro Team makes the relatively short road trip to Spain this week in preparation for the final round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship, the “La Comunitat Valenciana GP”. In recent years the Ricardo Tormo Circuit has become the traditional venue for the championship curtain call and, at the same time, an opportunity to glimpse into the future as the teams immediately begin their winter testing programme for the season ahead.

Tortuously slow and twisty, on paper Valencia looks unsuitable for the power of a MotoGP bike and in particular that of the Desmosedici, yet this is the circuit where the Ducati Marlboro Team has celebrated some of its most famous successes. Other than in 2005, with a best result of fourth, the team have been represented on the podium every season they have competed there, including a sensational one-two in 2006. Casey Stoner, who arrives in Spain on the back of consecutive victories in Australia and Malaysia, scored the first win of his career at Valencia in the 125cc in 2003 and finished second for Ducati in MotoGP in 2007, following up with a win in 2008. Nicky Hayden has been on the podium twice here before, taking second place in 2005 and third place in 2006, when he also clinched the title.

CASEY STONER, Ducati Marlboro Team (3rd in the championship on 220 points)
“Valencia is a circuit I’ve always liked – it is tight and slow but surprisingly flowing and I think it’s a good circuit for a MotoGP bike. Apart from anything it is a great viewing spectacle for the fans, who can follow the bikes around practically the whole circuit. My Ducati has always run really well there and I’ve been on the pace for the past couple of seasons – in testing and in the races – so obviously we’re hoping that trend continues, even though we will have to make a few small adjustments to the bike. We’re finally at the end of the season and already looking forward to the next one, so if we can win this race then great, if not we’ll try and finish the year with a podium and then start working towards next year.”

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team (13th in the championship on 93 points)
“I love Valencia and for obvious reasons it is a place that holds very special memories for me but I don’t just like it because it is where I won the title in 2006 – I actually just like the circuit itself. I guess it will be my first ‘Ducati anniversary’ and it will be interesting to see how far we have come since that first test a year ago. I can’t wait to get there – it is a great Grand Prix with a special, welcoming and party atmosphere. Hopefully I can have a good race and enjoy myself. If I can manage a good result there’s a chance we can finish the season in the top ten, with ninth place just twelve points away. I won’t be easy but we’ll see what we can do.”

LIVIO SUPPO, MotoGP Project Director
“Valencia has always been a good place for our team and I hope it is again this year. Casey and Nicky both go well here and my dream would be to see them on the podium together in what would be a wonderful way to finish 2009. They deserve it, as does everybody at Ducati Corse. We’ve had some good moments and some difficult ones over the course of this season but in both cases we have just continued to do our job, giving our maximum at all times and I think that the results in the last two races are the proof that our motto of “never give up” always pays off.”

The Valencia circuit, named after Spanish rider Ricardo Tormo, has been a fixture on the World Championship calendar since 2002, having been used for the first time in 1999. Measuring 4.005km, it is an unusual circuit, built within a stadium style complex that makes it possible to see virtually any part of the circuit from any seat in the house. Whilst on the one hand this makes it a great venue for the fans, the track layout is constantly forced back on itself, making for a series of tight corners separated by short straights that require plenty of low revs, short gear ratios and provide little opportunity to fully open the throttle. In fact, the short back straight and slightly longer front straight are the only two high-speed points on the circuit. Unlike most circuits, it also runs anti-clockwise.