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Ducati: GP15 race decision after Qatar MotoGP test

“I don't want to take the decision regarding which bike we will use at the first race before the Qatar test"
Ducati will only make a decision on whether to race the all-new GP15 from the first round of this year's MotoGP championship after the Qatar test.

The new machine has received highly positive feedback from Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, but Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall'Igna won't jump to any conclusions until it has been tried at another circuit.

The GP15 made its track debut at this week's Sepang test, after which only the Qatar outing remains before the new season starts at the same Losail circuit on March 29.

Speaking in the Sepang paddock with two hours of testing to go, with Iannone fourth (+0.607s) and Dovizioso tenth (+1.353s) on the timesheets, Dall'Igna declared:

“For Iannone I think we have found a good set-up. A reasonable starting point for the GP15. With Dovi I think we have to work a little bit more because we need to fix some problems at the end of the braking area. So I'm quite happy, but not really, really happy.

“There are some small things that we didn't expect. But I think it is quite reasonable because the bike is completely new so you cannot think of everything before. You have to test, check what happens and try to solve the issues that you have.

“In my opinion 80% of the riders comments fit with our simulations, but there is more or less 20% that we now have to understand.”

The Italian, who joined Ducati from Aprilia at the end of 2013, added: “I don't want to take the decision regarding which bike we will use at the first race before the Qatar test. One track is not enough to verify completely the new bike and also I need more mileage on the engines.

“At the moment we haven't had any [reliability] issues. And this is really good. But we have to continue with the mileage and see what happens. We still have to make another comparison between GP14.3 and GP15 at the Qatar test and after that maybe we can have a better opinion about which bike to use for the race.”

And that decision will not be down to Dall'Igna, but the riders.

“At the end this is the rider's choice. Not my choice,” he said. “The rider has to do the best for performance and not follow my opinion. I did this [approach] all my life. If you remember also Marco Simoncelli when he won the championship with the 250 for two or three races he had [two different Aprilias] in the pit box.”

Comparing the performance of the GP15 to last year's GP14, Dall'Igna stated: “For me the [new] bike is a little bit faster than the other one in the chicane. There are some parts of the track where I think we gain quite a lot but there are some other areas where we have to improve a little bit to reach the GP14 performance.

“High speed corners I'm quite happy about the behaviour of the bike. I'm not really happy mainly in the braking zone and above all the final braking zone.”

But the big news is that the understeer issue that has taunted Ducati's designers for years looks to have been solved. So how did they do it?

“It's difficult to explain and also something that we understand, we learned, and I think it's better not to tell everybody!” Dall'Igna smiled.

Dovizioso and Iannone each currently have one GP15 and one GP14.3, but may get two of the new bikes "depending on what happens during the first day" of the Qatar test.

Tagged as: Ducati

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February 25, 2015 10:20 AM

After Stoner left Ducati and went to Honda he said he knew what needed changing on that Ducati to correct the issues but that Ducati weren't prepared to follow his advice, I'd love to know what changes Stoner had asked for and whether they tie in with the changes Gigi and the rest of the team have made.

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