Our first year of Ductalk.com has now come to an end and in reflection, I don’t remember a year when there was more to write about in the Ducati world and that’s coming from somebody that bought her first Ducati 23 years ago. In that regard, our timing to start Ductalk was lucky, because few days came and went without something worthy of mention. Bombshell announcements (Stoner retires! Rossi leaves! Ducati sold! Justin Bieber buys an 848!) were the monthly norm. And the images? Well, I doubt there will ever be another rider and bike combination more beautiful at rest or speed than the spectacular colors in combination of Ducati, Rossi and Drudi.
For Ducati racing it was a tough year. Restricted funds while the company went thru a buy-sell combined with a very verbal and unhappy Rossi, wielding the Italian press like a bat, made for a rough go for the team. In SBK it was not much better, Checa struggled with politics in the form of weight restrictions and the lack of official status and a machine at the end of it’s development cycle. For Ducati fans, especially those of us who were used to fairy tale endings and Championships galore it was hard to watch. Every race weekend full of mixed emotions. And for those of us participating in the Ducati.net Motogp Fantasy League every race weekend was like having a devil on each shoulder – the one with clear sense and emotions and the other one that said surely this weekend the Ducati’s would podium. (Fred L. won for the third year in a row. I am starting to suspect he doesn’t love Ducati’s. My scores are proof I do)
Now, at the end of 2012, with Rossi officially gone in a matter of days, and Audi in and rapidly making changes, 2013 shows promise of becoming Drama Free. The rider lineup is broad and balanced, with only “Crazy Joe Iannone” showing Drama Promise. Even though he is now an official factory rider we notice his Twitter feed personal slogan still translates from Italian as “Dick hard all the time”. (Really. You can’t make this stuff up) And with Pirro promised three wildcard spots in 2013 there should be plenty to cheer for.
As an American it’s also worth noting that we went from the prospect of no Americans in 2013 to two. And the two are our home boys – AMA raised and schooled, they represent American racing 100%. When not dressed in Red, Nicky’s practicing flat track for what we SO hope is his eventual Grand Slam and Ben’s selling burgers at his popular restaurant in the lone star state. These guys are the USA real deal and now we get to cheer for them both.
And the company itself. Surely that’s the best part. In the hands of “buyout groups” since 1995, Ducati is no longer looking at a future where decisions are seen thru the glass of an inevitable company sale. It’s now in the capable hands of professional automotive industry people and some would say (we count ourselves among them) that no better home could have been found for Ducati. And while it’s probably also safe to say that the pressure remains on the Ducati race teams, and that changes will be plentiful, the well of knowledge, funds and experience that comes with this acquisition is the most promising thing of all that came to pass in 2012.
2013? We think it’s going to be a good year.
Ducati.net and Ductalk.com