After having unveiled the new livery of the Desmosedici GP20 bikes in January in Bologna, the Ducati Team has taken to the track for the Official MotoGP Test at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
For both Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, the test started under clear skies, and the track conditions were perfect to begin the demanding testing program. Eleventh and fifteenth respectively before the lunch break, the Ducati Team riders were hoping to resume their work in the afternoon finding the same weather conditions. But a sudden downpour wrecked the program leaving just two more hours of dry track before the rain started to fall again a few minutes before the end of the first day.
Dovizioso closed in 11th position in 1:59.666, while Petrucci ended the day 14th, just 0.263 s behind his teammate.
The factory riders took to the track once again for the second day. After a first day affected by the changeable weather conditions, Dovizioso and Petrucci were finally able to take full advantage from the 8 hours of free practice available in which they found better testing conditions, with both riders making improvements.
Danilo Petrucci made a big step forward, taking 0.682 seconds off his personal best from day one, finishing in thirteenth position overall with a 1’59.257, close to the top of the timesheets.
In the afternoon, Andrea Dovizioso slid out at Turn 6, but the small off didn’t compromise his progress. Dovi was fifteenth overall with a personal best lap of 1:59.342 at the end of Saturday.
The third and final day of the test was dry until the last half-hour of free practices when the weather again deteriorated. Both Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci took to the track testing the new Michelin tyres and working on the ideal setup for their Desmosedici GP20 bikes.
In the morning, Petrucci was able to stop the clock on the 1:58.606, which was also his personal best of the weekend, ending sixth of the day and sixth in the combined classification.
It was a positive day for Dovizioso too. Despite having ended the day just 14th and 15th overall at the end of the three days, he was able to finish only 0.510 seconds behind the pacesetter finding a good race pace in the mini long run (10 laps) that he did late morning.
The Ducati Team will head to the Losail International Circuit from 22nd-24th February to complete the final session of winter testing.
An upbeat Petrucci said, “It has been a busy three-day test. Today we worked on different setup solutions, and even if we still have a few aspects that we still need to improve, I am satisfied because we were able to find a good race pace and make another step forward. I discussed a lot with Andrea, and together we identified a few aspects that for sure will be helpful during the races. We still need to understand how to use well the new tyres, but we still have the Qatar Test to complete our work”.
Dovizioso added, “I am quite satisfied with the work we have done today. This morning we were able to put in several laps, improving the bike setup and also my feeling with the new tyres. It had not been easy because I had to adapt my riding style, and I was struggling a lot with this in the beginning. Danilo and I did a few laps together: the pace was good, but the tyre performance dropped quite a lot. We still need to understand how they will work on a race distance and here in Sepang, where the conditions are peculiar due to the high temperatures, it is difficult to make a complete evaluation. Now we still have a test before the opening round of the season in Qatar. I am sure that the final classification of these three days doesn’t completely reflect what will happen in the Championship this year”.