MotoGP, Dall’Igna: “We already knew in mid-2019 that it would end with Dovizioso”

Gigi Dall’Igna, accompanied by Paolo Scalera and Matteo Aglio from GPOne, was the guest of a really nice live streaming broadcast on our usual channels. We were able to talk about 2020 when Ducati won the Constructor’s title in MotoGP. but this also meant the end of the very long relationship with Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci. Obviously, Ducati has not stopped working with a view to the future and also the rider selection seems to be aimed at guaranteeing a future shaped by a younger generation, with three rookies poised to make their MotoGP debut on the 2021 Desmosedici to give. This is the first part of the interview with Dall’Igna.

First of all, congratulations on the design engineer title …

“Thank you, it was a great satisfaction. This is my first world title that I won at Ducati and it was particularly satisfying for me.”

It’s a shame you didn’t win the Riders’s too. How much do you think the new Michelin has influenced your performance?

“The new Michelin was an important change and the fact that it wasn’t tested enough and the right set-up found affected the course of the championship.”

Dall’Igna: “Ducati didn’t ask Michelin for anything, we just have to work well”

But is it true that you are pushing for a new Michelin front tire as soon as possible?

“That’s not true, we didn’t ask Michelin for anything. The rear tire has brought more rear grip this season, which in itself is an advantage. But there are bikes that can benefit more from it than others. ” In certain situations we were no longer able to take advantage of the advantage we had before by sliding backwards when braking. Other bikes that tended to brake harder from a standing start already had an important improvement. From the point of view of exiting the corner, the advantage was the same for everyone. We lost the advantage when braking that we had before with the bike at an angle. I have to say that in reality Ducati hasn’t had that many ups and downs. We did well everywhere except in Aragon and Valencia 1, where we found special conditions. The cold really punished us on these routes. We have to intervene for 2021 so that the drivers can find confidence in the cold and with little grip. “

Now everything changes in the garage, with two young drivers. Are you satisfied with the choices you made when hiring Miller and Bagnaia?

“To be honest, I am happy with the two drivers we have selected for 2021. Jack had an impressive finish with two incredible races. He could have won in Valencia, in Portimao it was directly second place behind Oliveira. Jack made two zeros this year that weren’t his fault, it was Ducatis. Once he broke an engine, another time the motorcycle sucked a crack out of the airbox. At Le Mans he could have won or finished second, at Misano I don’t know where he could have ended up, but the two zeros were certainly not his fault. Pecco made a wonderful early and central part of the season. He was great in Misano 1 and in Misano 2 when he was in the lead he made all the difference. That slide over there … let’s say it was a mistake. I think that we can achieve great satisfaction together with the two of them in 2021. “

Dall’Igna: “We are focusing on young drivers, we have monopolized a generation of talent”

They will also debut three rookies. Whatever happens, one of your drivers will win the Rookie of the Year title …

“I think we had reached the end of a cycle and had to start over with something fresher. We have monopolized a generation of talent. That’s right, we wanted to invest a lot in young riders, and we were helped by the satellite teams, which in recent years have contributed to the growth and development of the talents of riders who later became official Ducati riders. It was possible to bring them to the factory team and now I hope to be satisfied with them. “

But as an engineer, are you looking for something in data or telemetry to identify a talent?

“It was easier when I was responsible for the 125 and 250 in Aprilia because I had the telemetry on hand and saw the drivers in the first person in the pits. Now it’s more complicated, I obviously don’t have the telemetry of the others. On the other hand, I can get a lot of help from other people who have a talent for discovering promising drivers, they have a talent for identifying talent, which is a play on words. I’m referring to Tardozzi and Ciabatti who play an important role in defining the teams we will compete with. Choosing a driver is the most complicated phase in running a team. Never sure what to choose until you bring it home, it is one of the most complicated and difficult surgeries. “

Dall’Igna: “In mid-2019 I realized that Dovizioso and Ducati had parted ways”

But can you tell us now how it really went with Dovizioso, what happened?

“There is nothing secret. During an important season for us and Andrea it was sensible not to find a way to cause controversy between us, the situation was already complicated with no other problems. In the meantime, it has to be said that I don’t think I’ve ever had a long history with a driver like Andrea. Anything can be said, but we’ve been together for a long time and we’ve all done wonderful things together. Then, as always, it’s difficult to continue a story that hasn’t achieved the goal we all wanted as Ducati fans, namely to win the drivers’ championship. “

Did things gradually get worse?

“Gradually the relationships have deteriorated, I think the real decision was made in a meeting here in my office in mid-2019 and in the end I was convinced that neither of us wanted to continue the contract. Everything can change, but at this meeting it was clear that it would be difficult for us to continue the duo Dovizioso Ducati. A lot has happened and we have found another team for the future. ”

Did things gradually get worse?

“Little by little the relationship worsened, I think the real decision was made in a meeting here in my office in mid-2019 and in the end I was convinced that neither of us wanted to continue the contract. Everything can change, but at that meeting it was clear that it would be difficult for us to find a way for the Dovizioso-Ducati duo to keep going. A lot has happened and we have a different team for the future. “

You have worked with many drivers and champions, even with complicated ones. How did it go with Max Biaggi? Is it true that he immediately noticed that you had moved the engine of the Aprilia RSV4 a few millimeters?

“Max is one of the most sensitive drivers I have ever worked with. This engine thing may be true, but I don’t remember it now. He is certainly one of the most important talents in this sport. Although he has won many, I am convinced that that he has gained little compared to his talent. Let’s say working with Max was certainly a good school. “

To talk about the future again, but are you preparing any technological “bombs” for the Sepang tests? You have gotten used to something like that …

For Sepang we have less folk ideas … let’s call them that! They are things that we have thought about for a while and that we doThe aim is to limit the problems in conditions like those of Aragon, where we have suffered too much, the idea is to find a solution to these situations and to ensure that the driver can find confidence in getting the tires up to temperature and pushing hard, even in the cold. “

Dall’Igna: “Suzuki’s simplicity paid off, but sometimes complications are required”

Dovizioso praised the simplicity of the Suzuki this season. What do you think about it?

“Simplicity is an added value because it means you can make fewer mistakes and find the best possible compromise early on. On the other hand, there are things that you can’t just do. For that you have to work as much as possible to make things simple, but when you need the creative flicker you need something else that complicates things in some way “.

Which path would you recommend to engineers looking to join Ducati?

“Joining Ducati is easy and difficult at the same time. You have to have an important story from an academic outcome perspective, I’m speaking as an engineer. You also need the right opportunity to be able to submit your résumé in the right place at the right time and even a little luck helps. There are a lot of people who also present their curriculum to me during the races, outside the garage or something ”.

But in addition to the design of the MotoGP and SBK bikes, do you also have a bike in the garage? Which is your favorite Ducati?

“Actually, I’ll disappoint a lot of people, but I’m a tourist on a motorcycle. I like to drive many kilometers, I’m a quiet guy on a motorcycle. I only crashed once.” and i was far. The Multistrada is the bike that I like best. It’s closer to what I like to do on a motorcycle. I’ve always enjoyed traveling with my wife and it would be difficult to get her on a Panigale V4! “.