Davide Tardozzi explained the reasoning behind fielding all four Ducati MotoGP teams at a private test in Jerez, as the factory bids to collect as much data as possible with the 2016 rule changes in mind, while reserving special praise for new recruit Scott Redding.
The team manager for the factory squad spoke of how the Italian marque was listening to all eight of its riders' feedback as it plans to begin the 2016 season, in which machines will be fitted with new Michelin tyres and spec Magneti Marelli electronics, on the front foot.
Factory riders Andrea Iannone and Dovizioso joined the Pramac, Aspar and Avintia squads on the final day at Jerez, with feedback for Ducati's work on the electronics package mainly positive, a stark contrast to HRC's current predicament.
Although potentially misleading at this early stage, lap times were generally positive, with Redding posting the fastest time on Friday, and new team-mate Danilo Petrucci joining the factory riders in showing competitively.
“It seems that our Ducati works very good,” said a smiling Tardozzi. “Our satellite teams did a good job and it seems our new software is quite good already. We still improve step by step. We will improve it in the next winter test. We are really very happy about that. All the reports from the satellite teams were incredible. We are really happy about that because it seems we help everybody in the right way.
“We are not here to do lap records. We are here to work. I think especially Iannone was able to do a very good time. When it was time to put in a new tyre he said, 'I don't care about the times now.' We care about the work and we are happy.”
Several riders, including Redding and Team Aspar's Eugene Laverty spoke of how having engineering guru Gigi Dall'Igna in their garages, showing a purposeful interest in their feedback, provided a lift after a season in the relative wilderness on Honda machinery.
Tardozzi stated that Ducati's more familiar approach and sharing of information was mutually beneficial for all parties.
“We work with several riders. We don't work with only our [factory] riders. When we improve the software it's for everybody. If someone else from outside the factory team [gives us technical input], it's welcome, totally welcome. Particularly, look who did the fastest lap!”
While Honda chose not to develop the software of its 2015 'Open' machines, Ducati worked with the Avintia squad's electronics through the year to gain an understanding of the software and hardware in preparation for the current switch to spec software.
From the five days testing in Valencia and Jerez, Ducati appears to have gained ground on its rivals. Yet Tardozzi feels that, such is the talent of their riders and resources at their disposal, HRC and Yamaha will arrive in Qatar for the first round in competitive trim.
“I think that after the next three to nine days of testing Yamaha and Honda will be there. Yamaha and Honda have really fantastic riders so I don't think we'll have a particular advantage. I think that it will be more easier for us to race the level of the software to close the gap to the factory one. We still think that if you put the factory one it's a bit better. We even think that in a few more exits we will raise this level.”
One of the biggest positives of the test for Ducati was Redding's apparent instant liking for the power delivery of the GP15. The 22-year old was still adapting to the new Michelin rubber but was nonetheless fast and, crucially, more comfortable on the bike, seemingly able to understand the machine's limit.
“We are particularly happy about Scott because it seems he found a good bike, a nice family, a good feeling,” continued Tardozzi, who acknowledged the familiar approach was more to the Englishman's liking. “He found what he deserves [and what he needs] to perform at his level. It will be tough for next year because we do not expect too much from him but we expect him to improve a lot from what he did in 2015. His level, his talent is over that.
“Every rider that is on a Ducati is our rider. Scott has a contract directly with Ducati. He is in Pramac but has a Ducati contract, so he is particularly our rider. We have two factory riders but also other riders in the support group.
“Scott is one of our riders and Gigi is caring about his words. He is particularly caring about his words. It's our way to work. In Ducati we have this kind of attitude. All the riders feel that this is a plus. We are absolutely confident and will give to the rider whatever he needs, not whatever he asks. Whatever he needs, for us it is a pleasure to give him.”
The Italian, who Carl Fogarty often credits for his resurgence in the 1998 World Superbike title race, also explained his thoughts on Laverty, whose test was cut short by a terrifying spill that resulted in a broken left wrist, at turn seven on Thursday.
What's more, Ducati is hoping to see riders like Laverty and former Forward Yamaha runner Loris Baz improve considerably with the equipment at their disposal.
“We are so sorry about his accident because yesterday he was going not too bad. He did a 1m 40.4s lap and it's a shame that he can't have a nice wedding. He will have a wedding with an arm with plaster. Anyway, Eugene is a guy that we trust. Gigi had him when he was at Aprilia in World Superbike. He always told us that Eugene in some ways missed a championship. I guess you know the reasons he missed the championship, some bike problems stopped him.
“We think that there he can perform better than he did in 2015. One of our goals is to see that those riders that were using another bike before are now coming back [stronger] with our bike. This is kind of winning for us. If they are faster [with] the Ducati that means the Ducati is not a bad bike.”