Rumors have started to swirl that Filippo Preziosi may be removed from his post as Ducati Corse General and Technical Director, though there's been no official word from Ducati regarding any management changes.
and Nicky Hayden
gave a lesson in diplomacy in Valencia when grilled about the future of Ducati boss Filippo Preziosi. It has been widely reported in Italy and is the subject of intense speculation at the final round that Preziosi will be removed as Ducati Corse General and Technical Director after the season finale in Spain.
Preziosi could be the highest profile casualty of a management shake-up by new Ducati owners Audi, who are desperate to recover from a disastrous two-year spell with Italian icon Rossi. Since Preziosi was hailed as the technical mastermind behind Ducati’s historic first world title success with Casey Stoner
back in 2007, the Bologna factory has struggled to replicate that success.
Ducati hasn’t won a race since the end of 2010 and its two-year spell with Rossi has been an unmitigated disaster. Rossi completed his Ducati tenure with just three podium finishes in 34 races, while American Hayden has not scored a rostrum in a season for the first time in his premier class career.
The GP11 and GP12 have struggled to match the pace of Honda and Yamaha and been dogged by a persistent understeer and aggressive power delivery issue ever since Rossi first tested the Desmosedici two years ago. With so much speculation about Preziosi’s future in the paddock, it was inevitable that both Rossi and Hayden were quizzed on the subject in their media debriefs after qualifying in 11 and seventh respectively.
Both confirmed they were aware of the speculation but both denied they had been informed of Preziosi’s departure.
Nine-time world champion Rossi, who will re-join Yamaha’s factory squad next week, said: “I don’t know if it is true. Filippo has said nothing to me about this and maybe they are just rumors. I will race with another bike and another team, so I am sorry for Filippo. I know him very well but it is not my problem.”
Hayden meanwhile added: “I’ve just heard that. You hear so many rumors but I didn’t hear it inside Ducati and as far as I know there is no truth to it. It is just a rumor and I don’t want to say this or that but I have a good relationship with Filippo and he has done a lot for Ducati. I would think it would be hard to replace a guy like that.”
Preziosi was present in Valencia and will also oversee next week’s two-day test session when Andrea Dovizioso takes the place of Rossi.
There has been no official confirmation from Ducati on the management shake-up speculation.