Andrea Dovizioso is hoping to have a new frame available for his Ducati at next weekend's Catalunya MotoGP, after setting improved lap times at this week's Mugello test.
Dovizioso claimed Ducati's first front row of the season in qualifying for his home Italian GP at the Mugello circuit last weekend, when he rode to fifth in the race.
That was while riding the standard GP13, with Dovizioso and team-mate Nicky Hayden then trying the latest version of development 'lab' bike during this week's private test.
Dovizioso set a best lap of 1m 48.2s with the new bike - which compares with his 1m 48.7s in the race, when Honda's Marc Marquez set a 1m 47.639s - although it was the consistency that impressed Dovizioso most.
“We did some good testing, especially today [ Friday]: setup, new parts, and riding with the new frame to try and get the most out of it, and we were consistently fast,” he explained. “We rode all day at 1m 48s in every exit, which is very important. When I wanted to push, I did a 1m 48.2s, which is a good time. I could've gone faster, but I'm pleased with my speed and consistency.
“We improved a bit with the various changes to the weight distribution and my riding position. The improvements aren't huge, and this frame won't make enough difference to reduce the gap, but for me it's still a small improvement. We'll see if we can have it ready in time for the weekend in Barcelona, or if we'll just use it in the post-race test.”
However Hayden, sixth in Sunday's race, wasn't able to find any clear progress.
“If we're completely honest, we didn't achieve the progress that we'd hoped for, which is unfortunate,” said the American. “This laboratory bike has some positives, but at the moment, the lap time is very similar to our current bike. Hopefully these days will help the engineers to learn something. Thanks to my guys for coming here and working hard, because it's not easy to go back to the track and test after a long GP weekend.”