Mar 18, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Pascal Picotte said today that he doesn't understand why he lost his HMC Ducati ride.<BR><BR>"There's no word really to explain how I feel," said Picotte from his home in Quebec, Canada. "We started, testing at Daytona went pretty well. The Italian people were really behind us. They were pretty satisfied with the lap times we did. They actually went to our testing at Fontana, one of their engineers. We had a great test at Fontana with Roberto (Bonazzi), the engineer. He was really happy to have me on board with Ducati, and said that I was good rider and even a great person.<BR><BR>"Mitch (Hansen) must have told me 10 times a day that he was really happy to work with me and I was really the right person for the program. And then at Daytona I think we did pretty damn good, qualified under the track record. We were just managing to finish the race, we were still racing against Honda HRC, Yamaha Japan, all these guys, it looks like we are the big factory Ducati but we are still privateers, we are just buying equipment and doing the best we can.<BR><BR>"For me it was kind of tough to start at Daytona, it's a tough week, a lot of people feel a lot pressure. You need to be really well organized, the pit stop stuff, it's a tough week and we started the season with a race, it was our first race together. Everything turned out great except for one little incident with my crew chief. <BR><BR>"Mitch asked me if I wanted a new crew chief. He asked me if I wanted to work with Gary Medley. I thought, why not?<BR><BR>"Right after that, after I broke, he (Mitch) hugged me, and told me once again I was the right person for the program, he was happy to be working with me. I was getting ready to leave the racetrack, I said hi to a few guys, Mitch gave me a hug, said again I was the person for the program, he was really happy to work with me.<BR><BR>"From day one he told me he was not in any good financial situation with Ducati this year and appreciated that I was going to work with him, but that he was going to be loyal to me over the next couple years. We had a good chemistry between him and me, I never saw it coming.<BR><BR>"I gave him a call to see if he had any news on Gary. He said he'd give me a call. Next thing I know (manager) Alan (Labrosse) called me and told me it's over. I was really shocked, it was tough emotionally.<BR><BR>"I was happy to be back on a Ducati. Not really doing anything wrong. Little things like that between a rider and a mechanic could happen, I don't think I'm that bad of a person to actually get fired like that. All I said to him was, ‘Hey, Mark (Sutton), you want me to give you my leathers and see if you can do better?'<BR><BR>"The only thing I can understand is if Doug and Gary bring money, otherwise I don't understand why to change.<BR><BR>"I think the crew chief wasn't in his right position. He was an awesome mechanic probably, but put him back as a mechanic and bring in a crew chief. Mitch came up to me and asked me if I wanted a new crew chief, and mentioned Gary.<BR><BR>"I'm not 12 years old, and Mitch is not a baby cry also, we could have sat down and talked about it, sorted it out. I can't believe I got fired for something like that.<BR><BR>"It doesn't make sense like that. I worked with a bunch of different crew and never had any problem with anybody. That was the first time that happened with a crew chief in my life.<BR><BR>"He (Mitch Hansen) could have at least called me, talked to me, and said something. The guys was really nice and kind to me, he was a gentleman, then all of a sudden he turned out to be something really mean."<BR><BR>HMC Ducati declined to comment beyond the press release originally issued by the team this morning.