World Champ Stoner aims to be “even faster and stronger”
Day one at Wrooom - MotoGP Press Ski Meeting 2008 was action-packed with a press conference attended by reigning World Champion, Casey Stoner, and his new team mate, Marco Melandri, wearing the official Ducati Marlboro
Team gear for the first time.
The Ducati Desmosedici GP8 launch was set in the breathtaking scenery of Madonna di Campiglio in the Trento Dolomites. The two riders ceremoniously broke an ice sculpture to reveal the new bike in its 2008 livery and tomorrow, Ducati Corse CEO and General Director Ducati Motor Holding, Claudio Domenicali, will talk to the press about the bike's technical innovations.
The press conference began with Marco Melandri revealing how excited he is to wear the Italian World Champion team colours for the first time.
"I feel great in red!", He exclaimed. "I'm so happy to have become part of the Ducati family. I'd dreamt of riding a Ducati ever since I first saw one. When I tried on my new leathers yesterday, I felt quite emotional. I'm aware of the big opportunity I have been given this year. It's not going to be easy, but it will be exciting and I'm ready to commit entirely to reward all those who wanted me to be here. I'm really impressed with how people work at Ducati. Although they've already achieved the greatest goal, winning the World Championship, they have continued to work relentlessly. After my first tests, I gave feed-back to the engineers so that my bike could be adjusted to match my requirements and now, I can't wait to hit the track again to train for this season. As soon as we manage to fine-tune the bike we'll be very competitive."
"This is such a wonderful event", said Casey Stoner taking over from Melandri at the press conference table. "I'm happy to be here although it meant celebrating my first wedding anniversary on a flight from Australia! I hope to be able to have fun and do some skiing too, maybe cross-country skiing. I don't want to run any risks snowboarding.
This holiday break after our latest test was just what I needed to unwind after a fantastic, although extremely challenging season. I also needed to recover after my shoulder injury from the Jerez tests. I feel much better now, although I'll only know if I'm completely recovered when I get back in the saddle.
I'm happy to begin a new season with the same bike and the same team, it's a first for me since I started to race. The feeling is just perfect with everyone at Ducati: Claudio, Filippo, Livio and all of my team, I wouldn't change a thing. As for my bike, I haven't suggested any big changes either, because we already had such a competitive package. We are only going to work on a few details. Winning a World Championship has taken a big weight off my shoulders: all my parents' sacrifices, all the hard times in the past, it's all behind me now. This year, I'll continue to work in order to try and repeat my performance of last year and be even stronger and faster, but I'll be able to do that in a very different spirit".
Tomorrow, the event schedule includes Claudio Domenicali's meeting with the press to explain the technical innovations of the Desmosedici GP8 in detail.