Following Ducati's decision to delay the debut of its GP15 until February, many have assumed that the all-new bike will be at both
Malaysian MotoGP tests.
The late debut was decided upon by new Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall'Igna, who wanted to gather as much information as possible before committing to the final 2015 design.
"I would like to do the job once and I don't want to repeat it,” Dall'Igna explained. “So I would like to collect all the information that I need. I prefer to start the season 'late' but with the right machine.”
While 'Sepang in February' has long been named by Ducati management for the GP15's first laps, no-one has actually stated which test - both being held during the same month.
In an interview with Crash.net
, Pramac's Danilo Petrucci indicates that Factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone won't be on the GP15 for the first Sepang test, adding “Ducati is working very hard on the GP15.”
Further checks with the Italian factory confirm that Sepang I currently looks unlikely. Instead the GP15 will probably be given an official launch in mid-February and 'won't be seen before then'. The first Sepang test takes place from February 4-7 and the second from February 23-26, the last day of each being dedicated to Michelin tyre testing.
Just one further official test will then be held, at Losail, prior to the season-opener at the same Qatar venue on March 29.
Whilst a new bike missing an official pre-season test would be a notable setback for Honda or Yamaha, Ducati - like Suzuki and Aprilia - is able to conduct unrestricted private testing with their race riders. The difference between a Sepang I and II debut is therefore reduced, since Ducati has the option of private testing to replace the Sepang I track time.
“The GP15 is coming at Sepang,” Ducati Corse sporting director Paolo Ciabatti confirmed at the Valencia season finale. “Probably that is a little bit late, but it is a risk that we decided to take in order to do the right things, in the right time.
“The bike is completely new including the engine, so it is really a lot of work to do.”
Ducati returned to the MotoGP podium this season, with Dovizioso also finishing fifth in the world championship. Team-mate Iannone is joining the factory team in place of Cal Crutchlow.
Honda and Yamaha ran their 2015 machines in November's post-season test at Valencia.