Ducati Back In The Game With New Desmosedici GP6 - Plus Sete
In the last two years, the factory Ducati MotoGP squad has found itself unable to replicate its stunning success in 2003. That year, its first in the premier MotoGP class, the team's tiny lead rider Loris Capirossi took a win and a total of six podiums - finishing fourth in the championship.
Sete Gibernau aboard the 2006 Desmosedici
GP6 at Sepang on Wednesday
Capirossi enjoyed scattered success last year, including two wins, but wasn't consistently competitive with the front-runners. For 2006, the diminutive Italian will be back, teamed with former Honda hotshoe Sete Gibernau.
A few months ago when Gibernau first announced his move to Ducati, we speculated that he might find himself quite at home with the Italian factory - we even thought that teaming with Ducati might help bring back his old speed and flair, which he seemingly misplaced in 2005. Judging from his speed in combined testing at Sepang this week, we may have been right on the money.
Ducati must have done something right with the latest incarnation of their Desmosedici race machine (the GP6, which made its on-track debut at Sepang) - after taking the first day to learn the bike, Gibernau and Capirossi topped the time sheets on days two and three, fairly dusting the dominant trifecta of Rossi, Hayden, and Melandri. Obviously it didn't take them long to get comfortable with the GP6, and a bike that inspires immediate confidence is a bike that can invigorate a rider's racing spirit.
We hope that this early show of speed carries through into the regular season, and that we once again see Ducati consistently battling Honda and Yamaha for podium finishes and wins. Considering that a disproportionate number of Ducati owners/enthusiasts seem to be MotoGP fans as well, we expect that the fans share our opinion and would be happy to see the Italian brand in contention once again.