MotoGP »

Ducati dazzles on opening night of Qatar MotoGP test

New Ducati GP15 goes straight to the top on opening night of final MotoGP pre-season test.
The new Ducati GP15 began only its second MotoGP test with a perfect one-two at the head of the timesheets on Saturday in Qatar.

The new Gigi Dall'Igna-designed bike had been hailed as solving Ducati's persistent understeer problems on its debut at the Sepang test, when Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso set the fourth and ninth fastest lap times.

Given the amount of design changes, the GP15 has plenty of room for improvement. Dovizioso in particular struggled with a braking issue at Sepang, while Dall'Igna insisted that it was not yet certain that the GP15 would race at round one.

The cautious Italian wanted further back-to-back comparisons with the GP14.3 at this weekend's final test, not least to double-check the GP15's reliability. But after a dream opening night performance in Qatar it would be a massive shock if Iannone and Dovizioso raced with anything other than the GP15 on March 29.

Both riders set their best lap times on the GP15, which Iannone rode throughout. Dovizioso completed a few early laps on the GP14.3 before switching over to the GP15. The pair went on to dominate Saturday's seven hours of track time at the floodlit Losail circuit, repeatedly exchanging the fastest lap time with only a brief interruption to their dominance by world champion Marc Marquez.

By the 11pm close of testing Iannone held control with a lap of 1m 55.265s, which is just one tenth from Casey Stoner's 2008 race lap record. Dovizioso was a mere 0.098s slower, with Marquez 0.289s from the top for Repsol Honda.

“For sure it was a positive first day, and we are learning more and more about the Desmosedici GP15 and its reactions,” Iannone said. “Today we carried out the schedule we had planned at the start of the day and we managed to get through everything we had to do. Now our engineers will have even more information to evaluate the situation, and in any case we were always quick. I am happy because we are improving every time we go out onto the track.”

Dovizioso added: “I am very satisfied with this first day here in Qatar, because we immediately got off to a fast start and this is always important. For sure we still have a lot of work to do because there are a few aspects of the GP15 that we have to improve before we arrive at the race, but I am happy with the base settings we have established here. Tomorrow we'll do some important tests to better understand our new bike, but as I said before today was a very positive start."”

Ducati - like Suzuki and Aprilia - have access to the softer Open-class rear tyre. However Dovizioso made clear that "he didn't use the soft tyre" while Iannone spoke only of being quick on both "new and used tyres". Dovizioso added that they are more competitive than in Sepang, and "can go faster because we have something to try tomorrow or the day after tomorrow."

Dall'Igna joined Ducati at the end of 2013, a season in which the team failed to take a podium, and introduced several iterations of the GP14 while working on the all-new GP15 design.

Testing at Qatar for race riders continues on Sunday and Monday, with Tuesday dedicated to Michelin tyre development by test riders.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Iannone and Dovizioso, Qatar MotoGP test March 2015
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Dovizioso, Espargaro Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Maverick Vinales, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Maverick Vinales, Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso, Vinales Australian MotoGP, 23rd October 2016
Dovizioso, Espargaro, Vinales Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Espargaro, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP 2016
Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP, 23rd October 2016
Rossi, Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Crutchlow, Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso  Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP 2016

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.