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Sepang II MotoGP Test: Dovizioso makes Open class debut

Andrea Dovizioso makes debut with Open MotoGP software - almost matches Factory lap time.
UPDATE 3: Correction from Ducati: Cal Crutchlow did NOT test the Open software today.
UPDATE 2: Pramac's Andrea Iannone confirmed as trying the Open software on Thursday.
UPDATE 1: Ducati state Andrea Dovizioso's team-mate Cal Crutchlow "also tried the Open software after 4pm".

Andrea Dovizioso made his debut on an Open class version of the Ducati Desmosedici during day two of MotoGP testing at Sepang.

Strong rumours suggest that Ducati is set to switch its official team from the Factory to Open class, but Thursday was the first time that an official Ducati Team rider had been confirmed as trying the required standard ECU software.

Speaking at Sepang on Thursday evening, Dovizioso said: “It [Open software] is a little bit worse than our Factory [software] so we have to work and tonight we will have a meeting. It is not too bad but our own software is better.

“The difference is a little bit everywhere. The anti-wheelie is a little bit worse. The traction control a little bit worse. But nothing really bad.

“Tomorrow we have to make more comparisons.”

In return for running the standard ECU software - the only requirement for entry into the new Open class - Ducati would be eligible for four litres more race fuel, seven more engine changes, a softer rear tyre and avoid the in-season engine development freeze.

“The engine feels a little better with more fuel, but the difference is not so big,” said Dovizioso, who set the fifth fastest lap time of the day with the Factory software, 0.748s behind test leader Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

Ducati later confirmed to that Dovizioso switched to the Open software at 4pm. Looking at his lap sequence, the Italian set a time just 0.049s slower than his best of the day on lap 46 of 48 - which would have been while using the Open software.

Three places ahead of Dovizioso was Forward Yamaha's Open class star Aleix Espargaro, who led the timesheets for much of the day and is proving the potential of the new category.

“I'm not really so surprised with Aleix,” insisted Dovi. “I knew he could be fast, although not like this.

“But also he used the soft tyre so I don't know about the [race] pace.”

Dovizioso did not try the softer tyre, only available to the Open class.

The official deadline for submitting either a Factory or Open class entry for the 2014 MotoGP season is the end of tomorrow (Friday).

Dovizioso's team-mate Cal Crutchlow did not test the Open software.

"We're not focusing on that at all," said the Englishman, who was seventh and less than two tenths slower than Dovizioso. "Yonny, Pirro and Dovi have tried it. Why do I need to try it?

"Our focus is to make me happier with the bike and the setting makes no difference to whether it's Open or not. Maybe I will, maybe I won't [try it tomorrow]."

If Ducati - without a podium last season - leave the 'elite' Factory class, it would leave only Honda and Yamaha.

Apart from software, the only difference between the GP14 Factory class bike and the Open class version is a slightly larger tank for the extra fuel.

Pramac's Andrea Iannone - who like Dovizioso and Crutchlow has been pencilled in as a Factory class entry on the provisional entry lists - also made his Open debut on Thursday.

Iannone's team-mate Yonny Hernandez is already confirmed for the Open class. Both Pramac riders 'will continue the work on the Open electronics [on Friday] to gather as much information as possible for Ducati to help them decide what to do for the upcoming championship'.

Iannone finished eleventh with Hernandez twelfth.

Tagged as: Ducati , Andrea Dovizioso

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Dovizioso, Sepang MotoGP test, 4-6 February 2014
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February 27, 2014 12:49 PM
Last Edited 969 days ago

What are they even debating at Ducati?? I mean, seriously... what have they got lose by switching to Open?? It's not like they're in the run with their factory bike anyway. They'll be lucky to get a top5 with the thing the way it is so go Open class already and stop this nonsense. The only reason I can see for them to 'maybe' stick with the Factory bike is the fact that their engine was never the biggest issue and the Open Class rules won't really help them chassis wise other than allowing them to run a softer tire (which the Duc engine and its torque are likely to shred to pieces before the end of the race anyway). The extra fuel might make the bike a bit more rideable but again, fueling wasn't their biggest issue. Unless they truly believe they can fix the current bike by running their own electronics (which I personally doubt very much) there's nothing to lose by changing to the Open class even if for just this season.


February 27, 2014 7:57 PM
Last Edited 126 days ago

If the Open ECU isn't much worse than the Duc factory ECU then why not go that route especially if you can use more fuel, develop and use more engines and be able to use softer tires that can provide an advantage at certain tracks. Plus as they adapt the bike to the open rules my guess is the bike's results would probably no worse than it's current results and have potential for even better results. So really what's to lose?

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