Andrea Dovizioso led a Ducati dominated start to private MotoGP
testing in Austria.
Desmosedici riders swept the top four places at the short Red Bull Ring, characterised by tight corners and long straights, and filled eight of the top ten positions.
Although a private test, all but the Repsol Honda and Tech 3 Yamaha teams are present for a total of 21 riders - including special test riders Casey Stoner (Ducati) and Sam Lowes (Aprilia) - to gather data ahead of next month's return of the Austrian Grand Prix.
Fresh from a podium in Sachsenring, Dovizioso set the pace with a best time of 1m 23.764s, keeping him 0.583s clear of factory team-mate Andrea Iannone.
“Today went really well: the track has some aggressive first and second gear acceleration areas and quite long straights, so it is suitable for the characteristics of our bike, and as a result it was quite easy to lap quickly,” Dovizioso said.
“It was great to be constantly quick on this track and, even though it's not one of the biggest and most spectacular tracks in the championship, it is in any case interesting to lap on a new circuit. Now we have to understand what tyres Michelin will bring for the race because it was also an important test for them.
“Here the tyre wear is particularly high because the bike tends to slide about on maximum lean and it spins a lot on the straight, so doing an entire race distance without any problems is going to be rather difficult.”
Iannone confirmed that the circuit is a good fit for the Desmosedicis strengths.
“It has been a very positive day for us because the track is really nice and adapts well to the characteristics of our Desmosedici GP: in fact we went really quick and I immediately established a good feeling,” he said.
“We worked a bit on the bike and also tested some new chassis parts, but all in all we made very few changes because the sensations were always very positive. I also did a mini long-run of 10 laps and my pace was rather good, very close to my best lap, so I am happy with how this first day went.”
Retired double champion Stoner was testing alongside the MotoGP regulars for the first time since Sepang in February. The Australian ace was fourth quickest, 0.041s from Pramac's Scott Redding and 0.738s from Dovizioso's best lap.
“You can't get a much more picturesque circuit than this, it's something very special,” said Stoner, who had raised some concerns about the lack of run-off prior to riding. “The circuit has some nice parts but it's a bit strange for bikes because some of the corners don't flow well together, which makes it somewhat difficult.
“In general today has been quite good, the surface is fantastic and very smooth, the grip level seems somewhat medium but we'll put some more rubber down and get a little bit more feeling on the track.
“This test is a little easier than Misano, where it was very hot and I hadn't been on the bike for a long time, whereas today I didn't struggle and it was easier for me on the bike. Today we've been trying a lot of comparisons with the bikes, with wings, without wings, lots of things to get data and it's all been quite positive.”
for full Tuesday lap times.
Testing concludes on Wednesday evening.