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Tyre adaption biggest obstacle for ’16, says Ducati crew-chief

Daniele Romagnoli, crew-chief to Danilo Petrucci, foresees riders' adaption to Michelin tyres as the biggest hurdle in preparing for 2016.
Ducati crew-chief Daniele Romagnoli believes adapting to Michelin's new batch of control tyres is the biggest obstacle facing MotoGP riders as they prepare to adapt to key technical changes for 2016.

Currently employed in the corner of Pramac Racing's rising star Danilo Petrucci, Romagnoli feels that accommodating a new machine with new spec-electronics software, is, technically, the biggest task he has faced in his time in the paddock.

The Italian also revealed that, in his opinion, Ducati engineers had got Magneti Marelli's software working at around fifty percent of its capability, somewhat higher than estimates delivered by MotoGP technical chief Carrado Cecchinelli at the close of 2015.

Speaking exclusively to, the man who once worked in the garages of Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow explained, “The most important thing for the riders is to learn the tyres. They are used too much to the other manufacturer. For them the riding style and the many manoeuvres that they are doing are quite normal but when you change tyres the feeling is very different.

“Also, the edge of the tyres is very different. Therefore the best thing has been for us to just concentrate on the tyres from the beginning. Once you have done all of these things it is time to restart again.”

Until now Ducati appears to have dealt with the electronics change the best of the five manufacturers competing in the premier class in 2016, with Scott Redding posting the fastest time at a private test in Jerez in November.

Romagnoli believes the Englishman's speed, which was in total contrast to how he ended a trying year with Marc VDS' satellite Honda RC213V, shows how Ducati's engine characteristics and smooth power delivery could suit a less complex electronics package.

“I think for Scott coming from a different manufacturer with very different characteristics he found our bike very nice with nice, smooth engine power delivery. This we worked on very hard already from last year, to have good drive-ability, especially with our engine.

“I think if you come from a more difficult engine our engine is quite good. We have already done a lot of work with the unit software with our test riders. We also did some tests in the factory, on the dyno with many simulations. Already we can say we are not happy like before but we are going closer to before.”

He then added that he welcomes the competitive edge that Redding's arrival will bring to Ducati's second squad.

“Having two riders, especially where the body size is similar, can help with the setting. But also having two riders like this can help with internal competition. All this brings a higher level of course. It brings hard work for us. But also hard work for them because they want to beat their team-mate. I love this kind of competition.”

While conceding that Ducati were coping better with the new regulations than Honda at the close of 2015, bar a few surprises in the first three races of the new season, Romagnoli doesn't foresee a change in the placing order and insisted the top four or five riders will remain thus.

“The best rider will be the best rider. Perhaps at the start of the season some riders will adapt earlier to ride certain bikes so maybe at the beginning there could be a different value. Sometimes you don't expect to be there. But for me it will only be at the beginning, two or three races, and then it will be the same as we know.”

CLICK HERE to read the full Q&A interview with Daniele Romagnoli

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