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Crutchlow, Dovizioso join Ducati test

31 March 2014

Ducati is to take advantage of the looser Open MotoGP testing regulations for the first time by sending factory riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso to Jerez this week.

According to GPOne.com Crutchlow and Dovizioso will join Ducati development rider Michele Pirro at the Spanish circuit from Monday to Wednesday, prior to next weekend's Austin MotoGP.

Although Ducati remains in the Factory class, it is allowed many of the Open class benefits due to having not achieved a dry win in the previous year.

These benefits not only include extra race fuel and use of the softer rear tyre - advantages that will change should Ducati obtain a certain number of top three results - but also extra engine changes, no freeze on engine development and less testing restrictions.

Outside of official Dorna/IRTA post-race and winter tests, Factory team MotoGP riders can only test at "one nominated circuit for a maximum of five days" during each year. Ducati's nominated test circuit would usually be Misano or Mugello.

However Open riders "may test at any circuit during the [racing] season" as much as they like, providing they do not exceed the team's Test Tyre Allocation (120 tyres per rider) or test at a circuit within 14 days of a GP event at the same venue. The Spanish MotoGP takes place at Jerez on May 2-4.

Dovizioso and Crutchlow claimed fifth and sixth places at the season-opening Qatar MotoGP. Dovizioso was twelve seconds from race winner Marc Marquez (Honda) while Crutchlow battled electronic problems for much of the grand prix, in which five factory class riders failed to finish.

Meanwhile, Motomatters.com reports that Bridgestone will make a "one-off" switch back to the 2013 rear tyre specification for Austin, due to production delays with the heat-resistant 2014 rubber. The lower edge grip offered by the 2014 rear tyres has been heavily criticised by the likes of Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo.

Lorenzo's former rival and double MotoGP champion Casey Stoner is to visit the Texas round, which takes place from April 11-13. The Circuit of the Americas made its MotoGP debut last season and is therefore a venue that Stoner never raced at. Stoner's only GP appearance since his end-of-2012 retirement was at his home Australian round late last year.


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