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May 28, 2013

Ducati's Nicky Hayden On The Italian GP: "We’re Not Expecting Miracles, But I Think We Can Do Well"

FIM MotoGP World Championship: Nicky Hayden (69) on his Ducati Desmosedici GP13.
Ducati Team prepares for home GP at Mugello

Buoyed by its recent positive showing at the French Grand Prix, the Ducati Team is preparing for its home round at the Mugello Circuit in the hills of Tuscany. Always one of the most popular rounds on the championship tour, this year’s edition of the Italian Grand Prix has been moved forward on the calendar to the start of June, and it’s sure to draw a host of fans, many of whom will be cheering on Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden from the Ducati Grandstand at the Correntaio curve.

The Italian will be competing aboard the Desmosedici GP13 for the first time at Mugello, where he began his Grand Prix career in 2001 (in the 125cc class), and where he has finished on the premier-class podium in each of his last three visits. Hayden also had a strong performance last year at the track, threatening for the podium before running off the track on the final lap.

Also in action at Mugello will be Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro, making his second wildcard appearance this season on the GP13 ‘lab bike’ following on from his Jerez debut; it will be the third race in a row for the Italian, who also took part in the Le Mans round, where he finished eighth as a substitute for Ignite Pramac Racing rider Ben Spies.

Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team
“I definitely can’t wait to do the Mugello weekend, as it’s the nicest circuit in the world. It’s Ducati’s ‘house,’ and there will certainly be many fans on hand, so it’s really a lot of fun to race there. We’ve already had some tests, so we’ll be prepared, although it will be difficult because we still have basically the same GP13 from Le Mans. It’s a tough track that’s physical and very fast, although I don’t think it’ll be bad for us. Mugello is always a good circuit for me, and having the support of Ducati and its fans should help us to have a good weekend.”

Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team
“Of course we’re extremely excited to go to Mugello. It’s a great race at a great track with a great atmosphere—really one of the best GPs of the year, especially when you’re riding a Ducati! Our bike was built around the circuit, so it works well there; the straightaway suits the Desmosedici because you come onto it so fast. It’s a tough track—really challenging, technical and physical, with a lot of blind sections and elevation changes—but it’s one that I like a lot. We’re not expecting miracles, but I think we can do well. The Italian Ducati fans have stuck with us through a lot, and it would be nice to leave Mugello with a result they can all be proud of.”

Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team
“First of all, I’m very happy to be making my second wildcard ride, and I’d like to thank Ducati for this opportunity. At Le Mans I did my best to adapt to the standard GP13, which I find quite different from the development version that I’ll be going back to this weekend. Mugello is close to Ducati’s offices, and we’ve done a lot of testing there, so I’m ready for the race. Doing the last two races in a row has helped to prepare me, so I hope to be able to gather some good data for the team and to be closer to the top guys with my lap times. It would be great to do a good result in front of the Italian fans, in order to show that we’re working in the right way with the bike.”

Vittoriano Guareschi – Team Manager
“Mugello is our home race. We were able to do a test there earlier this month, so we already have an idea about the setup we’ll use. It could be hot at Mugello in June, and that might be a variable since it was fairly cool when we tested. Still, both Nicky and Andrea did a good job at the test, and we have good data from them and our test riders, so we expect to have a good race. As for support, there will be many people from Ducati at Mugello, along with a lot of Ducati fans, and everyone in our grandstand always does something special to demonstrate their enthusiasm. We’ll see what they’ve come up with for this year!”