High-altitude launch for Ducati Team at Madonna di Campiglio
Following on from last night's spectacular unveiling of four Ducati Desmosedici GP13 machines at the Pradalago Chalet in the mountains above Madonna di Campiglio, the 23rd edition of the Wrooom F1 & MotoGP Press Ski Meeting came back down to earth today on the third day of the event held in the Trentino Dolomites.
On Tuesday evening the Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden, and their Pramac Racing Team counterparts Andrea Iannone and Ben Spies, together with the management, braved snow-storms, sub-zero temperatures and an altitude of 2200 metres to take the wraps off the bikes that will compete in the 2013 MotoGP World Championship. The splendid evening came to an end with a traditional torch ski run down the mountain, involving riders, media and staff.
This morning the four Ducati Desmosedici GP13 machines were brought down and displayed at the entrance to PalaWrooom, the event's nerve centre.
Following a short welcome message from Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, it was the turn of the new General Manager of Ducati Corse, Bernhard Gobmeier. The 53-year-old Bavarian engineer, at the helm of Ducati Corse since the start of January, is entrusted with the task of taking the brand back to the top echelons of the MotoGP championship. Gobmeier, a man of considerable managerial and engineering experience in four and two wheels, spoke of his first impressions in the press conference.
"I'm very satisfied," declared Gobmeier. "Firstly, the way the company welcomed me was overwhelming and I felt like being introduced to a big family. The first impressions on the human side were exceptional and this will of course will help to create a good motivational basis for working together, allowing us to dedicate all of our resources towards the brand, the company and the project.
"The challenge that lies ahead is a big one and everybody is curious as to what we are going to do to close the gap to our rivals. We must work in a lot of different areas where we can make the difference. We have already made some positive changes to the team structure, and we have some ideas for the development of the bike. I prefer to speak about evolution rather than revolution and with this in mind first we want to evaluate the material developed in the second half of last year. I think that with this approach we can improve the performance of the bike in the short term but we are also working on new solutions which down the road in 2013 will be implemented into the race bike.
"We also have a second squad, the factory-supported Pramac Racing Team with two additional riders, which will help us to gather more information and input for development. Michele Pirro is our new test rider and he will have wild-card rides in three races. So overall I think we are well settled in terms of personnel and the technology we have, so I am confident about the future.
"It is of course too early to think about results. We have to wait for the first tests where we are going to try new things and give the riders the chance to get comfortable with the bike. I am sure that with the additional information from our riders and the know-how that we have within the personnel and engineering staff in Ducati, we will improve quite quickly. Our aim this year is to once again fight for podiums."
With the institutional activities over for the Ducati Team, the attention of the media present at Wrooom now turns towards the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team.
The Ducati riders can now find the time to relax and enjoy some time on the ski slopes before meeting up again with their F1 colleagues on Friday's final day, in which they will take part in a ski race in the morning and the spectacular kart challenge exhibition race on Madonna di Campiglio's frozen lake in the evening.