Ducati Team in the spotlights at start of 2013 season

Following a long winter of testing and preparing for the 2013 MotoGP championship, the Ducati Team finally heads to the Middle East this week for the first Grand Prix of the year, at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit.
The squad has a much different look than it did just over four months ago at the 2012 season finale in Valencia, Spain, with changes in management and a new rider in Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian will be campaigning his first race aboard the Desmosedici, whereas teammate Nicky Hayden enters his fifth season with the Italian factory.
The team approaches the Qatar Grand Prix with the awareness that 2013 will likely be something of a building year, and the Losail Circuit, where the current lap record was set in 2008 by then-Ducati rider Casey Stoner, offers a first opportunity to see how competitive Dovizioso’s and Hayden’s bikes can be.
As has been the case since that same year, the season opener will take place at night, with illumination provided by an impressive array of outdoor lighting. Also unique is the format, with the event taking place over four days rather than the typical three, and all three classes given an extra free-practice session—the first of which will take place on Thursday night. In addition, Saturday evening will see the debut of a new qualifying system for the MotoGP class, as riders will endeavour to advance through a series of elimination sessions.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team
“Losail is a good track for me, as I’ve always had good races there, and I think that the Ducati’s strengths can work in Qatar. We head to this race determined to do well. We know that our pace isn’t so far from the others’ on new tyres, so we should certainly be able to fight for a good grid position, but we have a significant gap to make up in race configuration. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do a race simulation in the tests, so tyre wear is a question mark for me.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team
“I’m very much looking forward to starting another season. Of course I wish we were going into it with more speed and consistency, but I feel like we’ve made progress at every pre-season test. The team has used the dry track time we’ve had very well, and we were able to get more out of the recent Jerez test than I thought we would, considering I’d just had wrist surgery. The Qatar track is smooth, which should suit our bike well, and racing under the lights at the first round is always very unique.”
Vittoriano Guareschi – Team Manager
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete our work program at Jerez, due to the bad weather. Now we head to Qatar, where we’ll have to try some things in order to complete the setup work. It will be a strange race in unique conditions, as is always the case in Qatar. We hope that the wind won’t bother us too much and that our team will do well. We’ve had very good results there in the past, so the track isn’t an enemy for us. We’ve made steps over the winter, and our bike has improved at every test, so we expect to make further advances in Qatar. Andrea has done well at this circuit; he had a nice race there in his MotoGP debut and finished fourth, and we’ll be happy if we’re able to repeat that. Nicky also likes the track and has done pretty well there, but we’ll have to try hard to limit tyre wear. We still have some question marks, but anyway, we’re optimistic.”
Losail International Circuit Records
Lap Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1:55.153, 168.193 Km/h (104.510 mph)
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2011), 1:53.927, 170.003 Km/h (105.635 mph)
Track Length: 5.380 km (3.343 miles)
2013 MotoGP Race: 22 laps (118.360 km, 73.546 miles)
2013 MotoGP Race Time: 10:00 p.m. local time
2012 Podium: 1st Jorge Lorenzo, 2nd Dani Pedrosa, 3rd Casey Stoner
2012 Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:54.634 – 168.955 Km/h (104.984 mph)
2012 Fastest Lap: (4th lap) Casey Stoner (Honda) 1:55.541 – 167.628 Km/h (104.159 mph)
Ducati Team results at Losail (best finish)
2012: 6th (Hayden)
2011: 7th (Rossi)
2010: 4th (Hayden)
2009: 1st (Stoner)
2008: 1st (Stoner)
2007: 1st (Stoner)
2006: 3rd (Capirossi)
2005: 6th (Checa)
2004: DNF
Ducati Team – Rider Info
Andrea Dovizioso
Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP13
Race Number: 04
Age: 27 (born in Forlimpopoli, Italy, 23 March 1986)
Residence: Forlì (Italy)
Number of GPs: 186 (88 x MotoGP, 49 x 250cc, 49 x 125cc)
First GP: 2001 Italian GP (125cc)
Number of Wins: 10 (1 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
First GP Win: 2004 South African GP (125cc)
Poles: 14 (1 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 9 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2003 French GP (125cc)
World Championships: 1 (1 x 125cc)
Dovizioso’s MotoGP results at Losail
2012: Qualifying, 6th; Race, 5th
2011: Qualifying, 7th; Race, 4th
2010: Qualifying, 6th; Race, 3rd
2009: Qualifying, 4th; Race, 5th
2008: Qualifying, 9th; Race, 4th
Nicky Hayden
Bike: Ducati Team Desmosedici GP13
Race Number: 69
Age: 31 (born in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA, 30 July 1981)
Residence: Owensboro (Kentucky, USA)
Number of GPs: 167 (167 x MotoGP)
First GP: 2003 Japanese GP (MotoGP)
Number of Wins: 3 (3 x MotoGP)
First GP Win: 2005 USA GP (MotoGP)
Poles: 5 (5 x MotoGP)
First Pole: 2005 USA GP (MotoGP)
World Championships: 1 (1 x MotoGP, 2006)
Hayden’s MotoGP results at Losail
2012: Qualifying, 5th; Race, 6th
2011: Qualifying, 13th; Race, 9th
2010: Qualifying, 9th; Race, 4th
2009: Qualifying, 16th; Race, 12th
2008: Qualifying, 6th; Race, 10th
2007: Qualifying, 9th; Race, 8th
2006: Qualifying, 4th; Race, 2nd
2005: Qualifying, 8th; Race, 3rd
2004: Qualifying, 4th; Race, 5th