Important podium for Iannone at CoTA

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Andrea Iannone claimed his first podium of 2016 at the Circuit of the Americas last weekend, and it couldn’t have come at a better time on the back of four consecutive DNF’s. 

After the drama of Argentina seven days earlier, Iannone would’ve been hoping for a quiet race in Texas and that’s exactly what he got, finishing five seconds behind second place Jorge Lorenzo and seven seconds ahead of Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales. 

Iannone started the Grand Prix of the Americas from seventh place, serving his three position penalty for causing the crash in Termas de Rio last week, however this week he was the beneficiary of more misfortune to his team-mate. This time it was Dani Pedrosa, ironically the man who was promoted into third position after Iannone’s suicide move last week, who smashing into the side of Dovizioso this week, promoting Iannone to third place. 

With Jorge Lorenzo expected to officially announce his move to Ducati next time out in Jerez, Iannone knew it was important to finally get some points on the board in Austin. 

“It was really important for me to finish on the podium today, but more than anything else to finish this race with a good result,” said Iannone. I was sorry I was demoted one row on the grid and in addition, at the start, I made contact with Dani and Aleix and lost a few places.”

Iannone was happy with the race pace of his Desmosedici, suggesting he believes he could’ve challenged Lorenzo for second place had he not started from the third row of the grid. 

“In the race however I was very constant and always lapped with a good pace, very close to Jorge’s, and if I had started well, maybe I could even have fought it out for second place,” he said.

“In any case I am pleased with the way the GP went and I’d like to dedicate this podium to Ducati and to all the team because I made them suffer in the first two races and I hope that this result repays them for the commitment and the work that they are doing for me.”

 

Iannone expecting Lorenzo to join Ducati

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Factory Ducati rider Andrea Iannone has said he fully expects Jorge Lorenzo to join him at Ducati next season. 

Reports last week suggested Lorenzo was very close to signing a deal to partner Iannone in the Factory Ducati garage next season. Lorenzo’s manager Albert Valera flew over from Europe, with speculation to finalise a deal, with rumours of a verbal agreement already in place.

When asked about his future on Thursday, Lorenzo refused to deny the rumours, instead just reiterating his comments from Argentina that nothing has been signed.

If, and when Lorenzo signs his contract with Ducati, it is widely expected that he will partner Andrea Iannone. Iannone finished ahead of Dovizioso in the World Championship last season. Despite a tough start to the 2016 season – which included taking both himself and his team-mate out of a net second and third position in the final corner in Argentina – Iannone is widely expected to be retained for 2017.

Iannone has said that he doesn’t know if anything has been signed between Ducati and Lorenzo, but that he fully expects the Spaniard to be a Factory Ducati rider next season.

“For me, Jorge will come to Ducati. I don’t know whether he has signed or not, but to me, he is coming to Ducati,” the Italian said whilst speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca.

If he does end up partnering Lorenzo next season, Iannone said he would be very happy as his riding style would benefit from any changes Lorenzo would bring, something that he doesn’t currently benefit from with Dovizioso.

“If he comes and I’m at Ducati with him, I think it would be a very good team because we have very similar riding styles, something that has never happened with Dovizioso. Andrea has a very different style to mine and, therefore, often to get a good set-up or to pursue an opening we take different paths,” explained ‘the Maniac’.

“Instead, to have a person who rides similar to you, it would definitely help you a lot. He is a stronger rider than I am. He has done better than me over the years, so maybe I can learn some things from him.

“So this is very positive for me. But all this is ‘yes,’ ‘if,’ ‘if,’ we don’t know. If so, I’ll be happy.”

Lorenzo is expected to make a decision on his future at his home round of Jerez in two weeks time. 

 

Jorge Lorenzo closing in on Ducati switch

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MYMm_0579_T03_Lorenzo_2016 (1)MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo looks set to leave Yamaha at the end of the 2016 MotoGP season and move to Ducati.

The reports coming from Spain have intensified in the past week, with Marca, AS and Mediaset reporting that the deal between Lorenzo and Ducati is 99% complete, with a verbal agreement in place. 

The missing 1% could also get completed this weekend, with Lorenzo’s manager Albert Valera, who wasn’t in Argentina has flown to Austin with talks ramping up, suggesting both Lorenzo and Ducati are ready to get the deal completed before the paddock head back to Europe. 

Whilst both the Spanish media, and sources GPxtra have spoken to have stressed that nothing has been signed yet, the sheer presence of Valera would suggest that Ducati talks are progressing. 

Ducati haven’t been shy in admitting they have an interest in Lorenzo and have done for many years, however it was Giacomo Agostini who revealed that Ducati had offered the three-time MotoGP World Champion a “super offer” from Ducati on the table. Whilst no figure can be agreed upon, it is thought to be anywhere between twelve to eighteen million euros a season. 

Whilst Lorenzo and Yamaha haven’t fallen out of love with each other, Lorenzo is thought to still a little disillusioned with how Yamaha have treated both him and Rossi. Lorenzo wanted to know he was Yamaha’s number one rider, and whether that was in a financial sense or a promotional one, he hasn’t felt it. Conversely Yamaha have signed a deal with Rossi for suppling bikes to “the Ranch” and in the off-season signed a deal with the VR46 clothing company, too. 

The decision to move to Ducati for Lorenzo isn’t just a financial one. Lorenzo has been impressed with the huge progress Ducati have made in recent seasons under the stewardship of Gigi Dall’Igna. Dall’Igna has turned the Desmosedici into a genuine podium challenging bike and in the right hands, maybe more. Lorenzo also has a strong relationship with Dall’Igna from their days in 250’s. Dall’Igna was then overseeing the Aprilia operation that saw the Spaniard claim back-to-back 250cc World Championships in 2006 and 2007. 

Should Lorenzo sign on the dotted line and end his nine-year relationship with Yamaha, they will waste little time in targeting Maverick Viñales to replace the World Champion.

Viñales has been a revelation in 2016, building on an impressive rookie season, “Mack” has shown himself to be a genuine superstar in just pre-season testing and the first two rounds of 2016. Viñales’ contract situation with Suzuki is slightly less straightforward, with the Spaniard having the option to opt-out of his contract prior to it’s third and final year, although with certain clauses to be acknowledged. 

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Ducati: We never denied being interested in the top riders

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Ducati Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti has confssed Ducati never denied being interested in the “top riders”, after speculation emerged in Argentina that Ducati may have already signed Jorge Lorenzo ahead of the 2017 MotoGP season.

The Bologna brand have been interested in Lorenzo since 2009 and their pursuit this year has been made very public after MotoGP legend Giacomo Agostini confessing to know of a “super offer” on the table from Ducati thought to be as high as 18 million euros per season. 

Lorenzo has an offer on the table from his current Factory Yamaha team, however unlike his Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi, Lorenzo has not yet extended his deal with Yamaha, leading to the speculation amongst the paddock that a deal has already been struck between Lorenzo and Ducati. 

The Spaniard’s interest in Ducati is understandable. Lorenzo would become the highest paid rider in MotoGP, whilst allure of winning on a second manufacturer – a bike Rossi failed to win on – is now a viable option with Ducati. 

Along with Lorenzo, Marc Marquez’ contract is up in the winter, and having MotoGP World Champions still in the peak of their powers considering offers from Ducati, show that they’re going in the right direction, according the Ciabatti.

 

Ciabatti: Iannone must curb his enthusiasm

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resized_00051498.mediagallery_output_image_.1920x1080Andrea Iannone must curb his enthusiasm according to Ducati Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti after crashing into his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso during the penultimate corner of last weekends Argentine Grand Prix.

Ducati were on course to celebrate their first double podium of the season at the weekend after both of their riders had dispatched of Valentino Rossi on the final lap of the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, before in the final corner a suicide lunge by Iannone saw both Factory Ducati riders crash out of the podium positions. 

Despite apologising for the move, it does leave Iannone under pressure from Ducati.

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