Ducati's new GP15 has held its place at the top of the Qatar MotoGP testing timesheets for a second night running - and the team still haven't used the special Open class soft tyre.
This time it was Andrea Dovizioso, second to new team-mate Andrea Iannone on Saturday, who led the way. Dovi was the only rider to break the 1m 55s barrier as he retook the top spot from Honda's world champion Marc Marquez by 0.184s. Iannone was +0.197s in third.
While the softer Open class rear tyre is available to Ducati, Suzuki and Aprilia, Ducati insists it has been running only the harder of its two compounds. That tyre is the same as the softer option for Honda and Yamaha and was the most popular choice for last year's race, when Dovizioso set a best time of 1m 56.285s on his way to fifth position.
The official Qatar race lap record - beaten by both Dovizioso and Marquez on Sunday - is a 1m 55.153s by Casey Stoner, dating back to 2008.
“I am very pleased with my time today: we worked really well and always used the hard tyre, just like yesterday,” declared Dovizioso, who set his best time while using new aerodynamic winglets on the side of his Desmosedici (pictured). “I am also happy from the point of view of our speed because we are able to be very competitive both with used tyres and with new ones.
“We still have to improve certain aspects, like stability under braking, and in the first part of acceleration the bike still moves a bit too much, but as for our lap speed we are at a good point. Now we're working on fine-tuning and on race distance, because on this track the drop in tyre performance is very significant.”
While GP15 designer Gigi Dall'Igna only joined Ducati for 2014, the factory first used similar aerodynamic winglets on its 2010 MotoGP racer
, when they were “to help prevent wheelies”. The addition of endplates on the 2015 winglets suggests they are designed to generate more downforce than the earlier version.
"This is only an experiment. We need to collect some data and 99% we cannot use this system during a race but we will see. [Downforce] is the target but now the system is quite different in comparison to the past," Dall'Igna confirmed to the official MotoGP website.
Iannone finished his second night's work with a 12-lap half-race simulation, during which his fastest time was a 1m 55.592s. The Italian's best lap in last year's GP was a 1m 56.280s.
“I am very happy with the way today went, for sure it was a positive session because I improved my best time by a little bit but above all we concentrated on race pace to try and improve this aspect, which for us until the end of last year was a bit critical,” Iannone said. “We obtained a lot of useful indications, especially from the point of view of the electronics and tomorrow we will also try and do an entire simulation over race distance.”
The final night of pre-season testing for the MotoGP race riders will take place on Monday. The opening race weekend will then be held back at the Losail circuit on March 26-29.