Skip to content

We need characters, says Ducati boss | MOTOGP | SPORT

Paolo Ciabatti misses the “strong personalities”

Ducati Corse Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti says that a lack of big personalities is one of the glaring differences between now and the WSBK’s heyday during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

When asked what he believed was needed for Dorna to drag the series back to the heady days of Carl Fogarty and Troy Bayliss, the Ducati man didn’t mince words.

“We have very good riders now, a lot of British riders, some of them very fast, but they don’t really make the people on TV or in the grandstands want to cheer for them,” he said.

Ciabatti, German MotoGP 2016

“Some older WSBK riders were funny characters, outspoken sometimes, but I think the world of political correctness is good and bad. People want to see strong characters.

Edwards South African GP 2003

“In the past there were riders who were strong personalities – Fogarty, Corser, Bayliss, Edwards, Nori Haga… now I think we miss that part.

“You can talk about the strong argument between Chaz and Johnny in the parc fermé at Assen, but in general I think there is a lack of strong characters and strong personalities.”

But it’s a trait, he says, that doesn’t just plague the WSBK paddock.

“Even if you look at MotoGP – obviously forget Valentino – there are riders who are strong characters, but not many,” he continued. “It is Vale, Jorge [Lorenzo], [Marc] Márquez, and then Dani [Pedrosa] has his own fans, and Maverick [Viñales] and [Andrea] Dovizioso, but it is not like you have that big number of riders who combine being super-fast and super-talented with being a personality that people might be interested to see outside what they do on track.

“In the past we had Troy, who was a special character, Colin, who would say things which were not completely politically correct, and Nori coming out of the blue saying things in Italian that people had to say ‘wow’ because he was almost swearing.”

Gordon Ritchie