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Jan 11, 2011

Updated: Valentino Rossi Makes His Public Debut As A Ducati Rider, Joins Teammate Nicky Hayden At Wrooom Press Event In Italy

Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi.

Tuesday 11 January 2011: Wrooom Press Ski Meeting, Madonna di Campiglio (Trento, Italy): Wrooom and Madonna di Campiglio were the theater today for the first press conference with Valentino Rossi as a Ducati rider, preceded on stage by his Ducati Marlboro teammate Nicky Hayden.

Both riders touched on a variety of topics in response to the questions from the audience, composed of Italian and international journalists from all over the world. Naturally, there was great interest in the Italian rider's physical condition following his shoulder operation last November, and in his first impressions of the Desmosedici GP11, while Hayden spoke as a rider who has integrated perfectly with the Italian team.

"This my third year with Ducati," Nicky said. "The start was a little bit difficult, but it's gotten better and better since I've been on this team and on this bike. We've grown a lot, the bike has improved, and my relationship with the team has improved. We made a big step from the first year to the second, and I'd like to do the same this year. We know we have a good bike. We've made a couple of little tweaks for next year by adding some staff and a few engineers to help me. I have a strong team around me. I know being teammates with Rossi won't be easy, but I really don't get too caught up in that. I focus on my job, and that's why I think it'll work with us. I'm looking forward to having Valentino's information and feedback. He's been around a long time and has a lot of experience. I think it'll be fun. I know our team; the motivation is really high, and the excitement with the fans in Italy is high as well. I can't imagine what the atmosphere will be like when get to Mugello."

"Honestly, I had hoped to be a little better by this time," Valentino said in response to the first question, "but instead, it's going to be quite a race to have decent fitness in time for the first test. My recovery is exactly on schedule, but it's long: we're working hard to at least recover mobility in my shoulder, which I'll need to ride the bike well and to be able to fit behind the windscreen. I won't be able to be in top form for the first test in Malaysia, because it will be impossible to regain full strength, but I hope to be able to have a good seating position. The doctors assured me that the shoulder will return to 100% in a few months. Obviously, it would've been better to be in shape now, because we've got a lot of work to do and not much time to do it: three tests before the championship to make the Desmosedici not only very fast"”it already is"”but also a little easier to ride. We'll have to meet each other halfway: make the bike like I like, and as for me, adapt my riding style a little to try and make the most of the bike. It will be an emotional challenge; it will be difficult, but I'm happy because there's a lot of extra motivation. They're very excited at Ducati; they believe in me, and we'll do our best!"

Wrooom continues tomorrow with press conferences with Claudio Domenicali, General Director of Ducati Motor Holding, and Filippo Preziosi, General Director and Technical Director of Ducati Corse, followed by the presentation of the Ducati GP11.

More, from another press release issued by Ducati:


Dressed in "Ducati red" for the first time, Valentino Rossi announces his motivation for the new season and that the Italian Tricolore will decorate the official MotoGP bikes during this year's celebration of 150 years of Italian unity

Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, 11 Jan, 2011 The Ducati Marlboro Team was officially presented on the snow-covered slopes of Italy's prestigious winter mountain location, Madonna di Campiglio. Ducati CEO and President, Gabriele Del Torchio, met the media and gave interviews regarding the current motorcycle market situation and the ever-growing prestigious and significant role played by Ducati within the international motorcycling industry.

"2010 was the final year of our three year strategic-industrial plan, presented in January 2008. Over this period, Ducati economic and financial figures increased exponentially in terms of profitability and production. Registrations increased by 5% in 2010, reaching 36,200 motorcycles, enabling us to achieve a market share of 8.6%, a 1.5 point improvement compared to the final figures of an already positive 2009. Ducati is growing on all markets and especially in Italy, where our share today is more than 15%, and in North America and the Far-East where sales increased by 64%. The dramatic impact of the world crisis on this specific market (-52% over the three past years) saw the motorcycling industry lose 12.1% and 13.7% for our specific segment.

"In this harsh environment Ducati completed a significant turnaround, meeting all planned goals and constantly investing on research and development of new products. Since 2007 Ducati presented 12 brand new models, two more than the original plan. But being innovative is not enough and the fact that defects found on bikes during the guarantee period have now been reduced by 50% speaks volumes about the progress made on the quality side of our work.

"A great contribution to 2010 was provided by the Multistrada 1200. Although the motorcycle has only been available since April 2010, 8,887 were sold and 7,200 registered, conquering 14.3% market points in its segment. It was its first year on the market and the Multistrada became the second world-best-seller.

"In 2011 a new three-year strategic planning has started, during which we will mainly focus on our growth, both in our traditional markets and in the new ones, and on strengthening our financial and economic structure. Our new industrial plan for 2011-2013 will challenge us with crucial targets in all directions and our main objective will be to continue to deliver more innovative, premium products to Ducatisti world-wide.

"Races will still be the best 'advanced research and experience' laboratory and our most efficient means of keeping our passionate and faithful Ducati fans all over the world as close to us as possible.

"Let me welcome Valentino Rossi, and welcome back Nicky Hayden, on behalf of the whole company and let me thank all our sponsors, especially Marlboro, whose contribution has been crucial since the very beginning of our adventure into the MotoGP Championship.

"Ducati will remain in 2012 the icon of excellence it has so far proven to be and will deliver 'Made in Italy' to markets all over the world. This year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Italian Unity and we are proud to accept the invitation of our country's President, Giorgio Napolitano, by placing the Italian Tricolore on Valentino's and Nicky's motorcycles."