Ducati Corse engineering guru Gigi Dall'Igna is the man charged with returning Ducati to MotoGP world championship glory.
And he believes his secret weapon can be the contribution from his new test rider Casey Stoner, the only rider to win the MotoGP championship on a Ducati.
Dall'Igna was hugely impressed by Stoner's return to competitive pace and clinical technical feedback at the opening test of 2016 at Sepang.
Your first thought when you saw Casey back on a Ducati at Sepang?
"I worked with Casey briefly in 2005 when he rode an Aprilia 250cc but it was something special to see him on a Ducati. In the Ducati world he is very popular. He came to our factory Christmas party in Bologna in December and got a seven minute standing ovation. It is important for the Ducati brand that he came back to us."
What did you expect from Casey at his first test having not ridden a Ducati for five years?
"It was really difficult to make a test program for a new rider, on a new bike and with the new Michelin tyres so it was not easy to make a test list for Casey. I really didn't know what to expect. There were a lot of things that could go in the wrong direction so the way it worked was very positive and confirmed to me that Casey can help us a lot. He was fast with very good feedback to our technicians.
When you checked Casey's telemetry data what impressed you the most?
"What is clear is that Casey has a margin to be fast and there are some things that he does on the bike like no one else. When you look at Casey's data there is no way you can confuse it with another rider. Two important things are the way he uses the rear brake a lot and this is something special. And the system that he uses to put some extra grip on the rear tyre in corner exit using his body weight."
Casey says he is very motivated to help Ducati in any way to win again, will he have a role other than test rider?
"I feel Casey's motivation every time I speak with him. I think he can also help our riders a lot because he understands what the riders need and what they need to do on the bike so I would like to see help with that. If a rider has to change riding style to adapt to something on the bike then Casey has a real talent for this."
What is it like working with Casey in the garage, like you, he always has direct and honest opinions?
"This makes it easy for us to work together. I tell him what I think and he tells me what he thinks, this is the best possible cooperation."
If Casey asks you to do a wild card race what will be your reaction?
"I will be happy if he asks for this. If Casey wants to do a wild card then for me it will be a really good story to tell."
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