6 June 2014
WSBK Sepang: Ducati duo concerned by grip despite pace
Ducati's Davide Giugliano proves the quickest non-Aprilia rider in Sepang, but both he and Chaz Davies remain concerned about long-term grip.
Davide Giugliano and Chaz Davies had reason to be happy following the first day of World Superbike Championship action at Sepang after turning in the fourth and seventh best times respectively, even if both riders aired concerns about a lack of long-term grip.
Despite giving away around 8km/h on the long home and back straights to the pace setting Aprilias, both Giugliano and Davies were on the pace aboard the 1199 Panigale, with the former turning in the fastest non-RSV4 time in fourth.
However, despite the eye-catching single lap pace, Giugliano admits he is worried about the dramatic drop in grip after a certain amount of time, as well as the stifling weather conditions.
“It's a great track, very technical and then there are some very particular sections that you don't see at other tracks,” he said. “It's a pity about the bumps that the F1 cars have left on the surface though! Today has gone pretty well, though we're having some problems with consistency, in that we're fast through the first laps but then there's a dramatic drop in grip, something we see every time that the asphalt is very hot.
“In the afternoon we improved a little and will continue to work on this tomorrow. Physically it's quite difficult, it's the first time I'm riding in these conditions and it's hard to breathe with the helmet, suit etc.
“I guess it just takes time to get used to, but anyway I think we can be pleased with our work today – I hadn't been on this track before, neither had the team, so we should be satisfied with the progress made.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Davies too, the Welshman moderately happy with his performance but concerned about the grip available.
“I'm reasonably happy with the bike. The biggest problem is that as soon as there is a drop in grip, I lose stability, the bike becomes nervous, so that's something to work on tomorrow as I feel I am having to tiptoe around the track after only a few laps. We definitely need to improve things as far as grip is concerned after about the five-lap mark.
“The grip level didn't seem to change a lot this afternoon, despite the fact that temperatures were higher, it all seemed fairly similar. Fortunately I'm feeling ok physically speaking, I've been able to deal with that side of things fairly well. So all in all today went fairly well but there's more to do tomorrow of course.”
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