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Portimao World Superbikes race weekend blog

David Mitchell – head of Xerox Europe Marking Communications posted a blog from the exciting final weekend of the world superbikes championship. See his story and perspective on the team, the passion to win, and some of the similarities between Ducati and Xerox.

The article below was also posted on the XeroxCorp Facebook page.

The team were calm and determined at dinner last night. Everyone knows what they need to do and the role they will play this weekend. I will post some ‘behind the scenes’ updates here; but first, breakfast then off to the track. Ciao!
Sat at 5:59am

I should introduce myself! I run marketing for Xerox in Europe, which includes our sponsorship of the Ducati superbike team. This weekend I’ll be talking to the team about plans for the 2010 season, hosting our guests and doing an interview with a Portuguese business magazine. At the track now, there’s a real buzz about the place and the sun is shining; more later!
Sat at 8:04am

Also, if you have any questions or want to know more about a particular part of the Ducati Xerox team, email me at and I’ll do my best to find you an answer.
Sat at 8:21am

In the garage watching the practice session, I love the sound of those Ducati’s roaring into life. Talking to the guy from Ohlins suspension about the challenge of getting the right settings for the rider’s to perform at their best on the track. Michel currently running second fastest!
Sat at 9:24am

Luca, Michel’s electronics engineer, has just explained the screenful of graphs he was pouring over; as he talked, I began to understand the amazing quantity of data gathered by sensors on every part of the bike. Luca is looking for the optimum set-up for Michel’s bike – advanced technology and human knowledge combining to give the team leading performance.
Sat at 9:53am

Just been interviewed by Eurosport TV, talking about why Xerox sponsors Ducati; the link with an iconic brand, excitement linked with technology, the passion of the people in the team, the services business relationship we have with Ducati, the coverage we get from a top performing team, the involvement with Xerox customers and employees…..the list is endless. Let’s hope I don’t end up on the cutting room floor now!
Sat at 11:19am

The weekend just got a whole lot more interesting and difficult. Haga was 10th in qualifying but Yamaha’s Ben Spies took pole. This gives Spies a huge advantage in the championship. Nori will need every one of his ten point lead with fifty points left to be won. However, the one thing I have learnt about this team is that the bigger the challenge, the harder they work and the more focused they become.
Sat at 2:10pm

Earlier, I had a very interesting lunch with the leadership team from the Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City. They host the US races for World Superbikes and we discussed opportunities around the races on the Memorial Day holiday next year – get the date in your diary!!
Sat at 2:24pm

Just borrowed a scooter from the team and done a couple of laps of the track. With a lap time of about 10 minutes, I think I should probably stick to marketing. Having said that, it gives you an incredible respect for the guys who race round at speeds of up to 180 mph. They have to have total trust in their machine and the people who prepare it…
Sat at 5:03pm

End of the day…..cold beer….
Sat at 5:13pm

Race day! We’re back at the track setting up for what will be a busy day. Xerox Portugal will be hosting customers today; we have the country General Manager for Portugal joining us and our Xerox President of Europe. This is all about strengthening our relationships with customers, whilst having a chance to let them experience a different side to Xerox. The Ducati team are very supportive and go out of their way to make our guests feel part of the ‘family’. Anyway, back to work, the first guests are arriving, more later………
Yesterday at 8:08am

Just watching one of the guests leafing through the race day program we produce for each race. This is a great example of Xerox service and technology; we update it every race so it’s always fresh, the artwork and translation is done by the team at the Global Delivery Centre in Welwyn Garden City and then it’s digitally printed on a Xerox iGen4 at our site in Winnersh. Of course the guests don’t know all that, to them it’s a handy pocket size guide to everything they need to know about Superbike racing and the Ducati Xerox relationship; part of our efforts to answer any questions they have and give them a great day out.
Yesterday at 9:29am

Race 1, Nori crashed on lap 5 (he’s fine) and Ben Spies went on to win. This gives Spies a 15 point lead going into the last race of the season this afternoon. It’s not over yet but it does feel like the championship pendulum had swing towards the Yamaha team. Lunch next, Italian cuisine prepared by the Ducati chef, the best food in the paddock!
Yesterday at 11:57am

Race 2 – wow! Not sure how to feel after that! Both Ducati riders started slow but gradually made up places to finish 1st (Michel) and 2nd (Nori). Ben Spies’ 5th place was enough to give him the championship. So we’re all a little deflated, even though it was going to be a long shot. But if I reflect on the season, it has been a sponsor’s dream; two riders competing at the front meaning double the TV exposure, 2nd & 3rd in the championship, lots of happy customers and guests enjoying the experience, the Ducati Xerox Junior team winning the Superstock 1000 class and many new friendships made across the world between Xerox and Ducati staff.
Yesterday at 3:50pm

So that’s it from Portimao. I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into the sponsorship. Now it’s back to the real world, first job, start planning the 2010 season…… Ciao!!
Yesterday at 3:53pm

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