News 1 Jun 2009

MotoGP: Stoner wins first Italian Grand Prix for Ducati

Ducati Corse PR:

Ducati finally conquered its home race at Mugello today thanks to a stunning performance from Casey Stoner in one of the most difficult and eventful races of his career. Victory for the Australian in the second wet-to-dry flag-to-flag race in succession was his 18th for the Italian factory and it was enough to secure the World Championship lead after five rounds, with four points more than Lorenzo and nine more than Rossi, the two riders who joined him on the podium today.

The Ducati Marlboro Team rider, mindful of his Le Mans experience two weeks ago, perfectly negotiated a track that started out wet following a heavy rain shower before the race. He kept pace with the lead group even when his wet tyres were completely spent, before quickly rejoining the battle for the lead after changing to slick tyres and holding off the challenge of the men behind him.

Nicky Hayden produced an excellent performance to charge from sixteenth on the grid to finish ninth before being slowed by a small problem with his rear brake. The American is hopeful he can continue to make progress, starting with the next race in Barcelona.

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 1st
“I have already won in Italy, at Misano in 2007, and it was great for Ducati but this was the one I really wanted. We’ve struggled to find a great setting here for the past two years but today was our day. During the practice my pace in the dry wasn’t perfect but it was quite good. We started out well in the wet, I felt good and the bike was doing great until the wet tyres were worn out. I kept trying to push to the limit because I didn’t want to lose ground on the others like at Le Mans and stayed out there until I was absolutely sure it was the right time to change tyres. As soon as I went out on slicks I felt comfortable and competitive. Unfortunately I had an issue with the clutch and it started to give me a few problems. Loris came past and was pushing hard and riding very well and he kept me on my toes. At one point I thought it was all over but thankfully I was able to work out a way to ride around the problem and bring the victory home. I made a couple of mistakes over the final two laps but luckily it didn’t matter. It was a really difficult race but a great one for the whole team, for Filippo (Preziosi), for everybody at Ducati and all the Ducatisti. I’m so happy today.”

NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) 12th
“Once again we got hit by some crazy weather although to be honest I was hoping for a wet race today after being sixth fastest in the warm-up. I didn’t get away well in the race but I managed to get past a few guys pretty quickly and my team did a great job to change the settings on my second bike and allow me to be amongst the first to change over. That allowed me to make up even more ground and I was up to ninth, having a good race until the rear brake wore down towards the end and I lost three positions. I was using it too much to stop the rear from spinning up and moving around and it has cost me a lot in the end. It’s a shame but we can take some positives out of this race – I was back in the top ten for several laps and we have something to work from in the next race.”

CLAUDIO DOMENICALI – Ducati Corse CEO and Ducati Motor Holding Product Director
“This is definitely a special win for us. Mugello is our home circuit, where Vittoriano (Guareschi) has done thousands of kilometres in testing and where the Desmosedici made his first test in 2002. So to win here in front of so many passionate Italian fans, factory workers and suppliers, with the Ducati stand even more packed than ever, is a great feeling and a source of great pride. It is a good opportunity for us to thank all the sponsors who make results like this possible, our technicians and everybody working either at the track or back at the factory who give us the opportunity to unleash the full potential of an extraordinary rider. Casey rode majestically on board a machine that is built on the sweat of a lot of people. Another source of great satisfaction is Niccolò (Canepa), who enjoyed his best race of the season so far, and good performance from Nicky (Hayden), who was only denied a top ten finish by a brake problem at the end.”