A previous article rumored that Doug Chandler would join the team. Seems logical at this point in the year. Who else can they get? I'm sure Rapp is under contract.
It seems that HMC just can't catch a break.
I am curious as to the exact reason for the split. HMC is fielding a very competitive machine and it has better support from Bolgna this year than in years past. I wonder if Pascal is hard to work with or if HMC has problems within their race organization. I wish him luck, whatever the reason. Maybe they will get another talented rider and do well this season.
If I'm shootin at ya and ya stay still, your probably safe.
I don't think that its Pascal being hard to deal with, he certainly has the reputation of being a really cool, level headed guy. He must have had incredible patience to stick with the non-competitive Harley for so long that I really don't see one DNF causing him to quit. It is probably exactly as he said, he found the management and the team lacking. I have never raced but I can imagine it must be hard to put out 100% if you don't feel you have full support of the team and you don't have confidence in management to pull the team together.
I know this is really petty but for a "Factory" team the showing at Daytona was kinda sad, especially considering it is the biggest race of the year and one of the most important to the factories. Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki etc had their pits areas well decorated with banners, even the privateer Hooters team were well turned out, but HMC had nothing. It wasn't until they wheeled out the bikes that I figured out where they were pitted. If the management/team couldn't be bothered to sort out their pit area professionally, what else couldn't they be bothered to do?.
During the red flag break an HMC mechanic was working on the clutch side of the bike, he was just sitting on the ground by himself while everyone else just stood around looking at themselves, maybe it was a one man job and he was the only one capable of doing it, but it just gave the impression that no-one else on the team was concerned or even interested in the work going on.
I hope Pascal can get a good ride sorted out, he certainly deserves it.
I could have been a squid, but I was too busy posing.
I know this is really petty but for a "Factory" team the showing at Daytona was kinda sad, especially considering it is the biggest race of the year and one of the most important to the factories. Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki etc had their pits areas well decorated with banners, even the privateer Hooters team were well turned out, but HMC had nothing.
Biggest race of the year for Americans, yes. But that says it all about how much the factory gives a crap about AMA racing and US motorsports. Have you ever been around an international crowd talking about motorsports in general? The American in the group is usually the one who catches the most flack, thanks to the popularity of Nascar, which is what they think our idea of racing is. Europeans don't take us seriously when it comes to road-racing, so why should the factory? To be honest with you if I never saw another Ducati at Daytona it wouldn't bother me one bit. Our bikes weren't designed to go around a circle track, and that's nothing to be ashamed of.
I agree with you about the general European view of American racing but it is a known fact that Ducati have wanted to win Daytona for a while and with their new American owners I can't see that changing much. Daytona and Bikeweek are known worldwide, many people who don't even ride bikes know about it, the prestige from winning the race is too much for anyone to take lightly. If it were not for the conflicting WSB dates, you would see more than a few WSB teams over here for the 200 as they have done in the past.
In any case if HMC is waiting for Ducati to buy them a couple banners and a freaking umbrella, then they don't deserve to run the team. I know racing is expensive, but surely they could have put aside a hundred bucks to make up a few banners and those flappy flag things. I am not saying that this is why Pascal left, just that it doesn't portray HMC as very professional or even involved, of course they could be the most dedicated, but thats not the impression I get and sometimes public perception counts for something.
Does anyone else find it funny that Ducati has never won an AMA championship since they gave Ferracci the boot?
I could have been a squid, but I was too busy posing.
HMC Ducati Racing must with great regret announce the termination of its working relationship with Pascal Picotte. The team and rider were not able to form the necessary bond needed to be successful in such a demanding sport and the difficult decision was made shortly after the Daytona 200 this month.
Team owner Mitch Hansen blames no one for the break in the union. “We have every respect for Pascal and his riding talent,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we were unable to find that necessary chemistry with Pascal. We wish Pascal all the success for the future and we wanted to cease the union early enough for Pascal to find another, more appropriate, ride to finish the rest of the season.
he's being "HOSED"...!?!?! exactly... WHERE THE HELL IS HE SUPPOSED TO GET A JOB...!?!?! WTF...!?!?! i was there during daytona qualifying on thursday and stood directly across from pit-out and adjacent to where the HMC crew was positioned on pit lane. and as the lap times were being called off over the P.A. system... my jaw literally dropped open when i heard the announcer indicate that picotte had thrown down a lap-time for a moment that would have put him second on the grid. and if remember correctly, this was during the qualifying session after nicky had just thrown down his pole position lap and just before he (nicky) hi-sided. in fact... i'm sure of it...!!!
3/18/2002 - EXCLUSIVE: Picotte Speaks Out
By Paul Carruthers
Fired Without Warning
Ousted HMC Ducati rider Pascal Picotte says he had no idea that he would be fired from the team after just one race, and that he’s had no communication whatsoever with team owner Mitch Hansen since he left Daytona International Speedway on Sunday afternoon, March 10.
“I never talked to him [Hansen],” Picotte said today. “He never returned my phone calls after Daytona. I’m really, really, really surprised. I thought he [Hansen] was special, a really kind man. I thought he had a lot of passion for racing and I thought the chemistry between us was really good. We had good tests, I worked well with the engineer they sent over from Italy. We went to Daytona and I kept hearing from them that I was the right person for the program. I missed the front row by a 10th of a second and he [Hansen] hugged me and told me how proud he was of me.”
According to Picotte, there was a single problem with the team’s current crew chief, but it was nothing that couldn’t be resolved.
“He’s a great mechanic, but he’s just in the wrong position. I didn’t want him fired or anything. It was nothing that we couldn’t have fixed by just sitting down and talking.”
Then Picotte was approached by Hansen and asked if he would like to have Gary Medley [the current engine builder at Kawasaki] as his crew chief.
”I said sure, loaded my stuff and he [Hansen] gave me another hug,” Picotte said. “He told me again that I was the right person for the program. He said he was going to be loyal to me over the next few years, whether he ran with Ducati or some other manufacturer. The next thing I know, Alan [Labrosse – Picotte’s manager] calls me and told me that was it. We were done. I just don’t understand.”
According to Picotte, he didn’t have a contract with the team, but one was promised.
”I really trusted him [Hansen],” Picotte said. “We had a verbal agreement and a contract was supposed to be there [at Daytona], but it wasn’t. I had a lot of trust in him and I just don’t get it. I thought he was such a gentleman, but I turned my back and got stabbed. He never returned my call – the last time I saw Mitch Hansen he hugged me. Now his press release said they are letting me go in time to get another job – there are no other jobs.”
here's a pic i took of picotte late on thursday after that qualifying session. as evidenced by this pic, he seemed as pleased as a racer could be with himself. can you say "BLIND SIDE"...? i spoke with him a bit and congratulated him on his success. although short-lived, i let him know how impressed i was with his qualifying time as i heard it come over the address system. i even took a pic with him, but unfortunately, that's when battery in my new digital camera decided to die on me. arrrggghhh...
and btw redtwin... the hmc garage/pits were as fine as anyone's imo. i mean, it certainly wasn't sized like kawi's, honda's, or yoshimura's, but of course... it's just a one man team afterall, so it seemed totally appropriate for their outfit. they were the only one's to bother to lay down a colored floor. in many ways, it looked more professional because it was so simple, clean and organized. 2 bikes with one of those awesome color-coded towable (via ATV) rolling tool chests in the middle.
the only other team i saw with those was kawasaki. i think they had one for bostrom and another for hayden. the hooter's team didn't even register on the radar screen to even get a garage. a guy i know (mike g.) builds their bikes and another one of there racers (nate) lives right around the corner from me here in jersey. i stopped over to chat with mike and they had one of those routine large awning set-ups. not that that's bad... it's just not one of the garages nearest us with the tires (dunlop) in the goodyear garage and pit out.
here's some hmc shots. unfortunately, some came out blurry, but i luckily i didn't delete them off the camera. i've run the first 2 through some software to sharpen them up.
Thanks for the pics. I wasn't referring to the paddock garage, but to the hot pit lane during the race, you know the section of the racetrack where they come in for pitstops and all the television cameras have sight of. They had no banners like the other teams therefore I guess they didn't seem to care about the additional TV exposure they would get when the TV cameras covered pit stops and the starting line. That portion of pit lane is also the most visible to the people in the stands and I am no marketing major but I would imagine that they would go for the most public exposure. If they choose to spend their money of coloured tiles for the garage thats cool, but only a fraction of the race patrons or TV cameras actually go into the paddock area to be impressed by that. The Hooters team may not rate enough for a fancy paddock garage, but they had huge banners on pit lane and I gurantee you that the thousands of race fans in attendance and the many other watching on TV had no doubt about Hooters' presence because of those two banners. No kidding, if I didn't know any better I would think the only Factory teams out there were, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Hooters, simply because of that very public showing on pit lane.
As I said before, maybe HMC is the most dedicated team out there, but as an average joe sitting in the stands on race day comparing them to the other teams efforts, it just didn't look that way. I know thats splitting hairs about banners etc, but racing is all about factory image. Winning a race is pointless if the results are kept secret and the manufacturers can't capitalize on the publicity. With that public image in mind I would have thought HMC would have been waving the Ducati flag just a bit harder.
I could have been a squid, but I was too busy posing.
oh... okay... along pit lane... sorry for the confusion. yeah, i agree... that should be the place to do up for the cameras. i only glanced at 'em from the ground level paddock area. it was so crowded with "worker bees" it made it hard to see i guess. in the background of this pic was where HMC was at. you can see the throngs of people crowded around.
unfortunately, i never got the chance to stroll along pit lane... on the OPPOSITE side of the fence that is. it was that day that i came down with food poisoning and found myself needing to be tethered to the nearest toilet every half hour on the hour...