Normally, MotoGP riders crave extra grip.

But the increased performance of the new 2020 Michelin rear tyre has robbed the Ducati riders of their ability to slide the back of the bike into corners.

With the Desmosedici renowned for its unwillingness to turn, such slides had been an effective countermeasure.

However, the factory team of Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso have now been forced to go back to the set-up drawing board to try and 'release' the rear.

"The problem is that for my riding style and for the Ducati riding style it was better to slide a bit on entry of the corner, to turn the bike. But with this tyre it's really difficult to do it," explained Petrucci, left playing catch-up in Friday practice due to missing most of Wednesday's test after falling on oil.

"It's quite crazy to say, but this tyre has a lot of traction in the middle part if you look at the [profile] of the tyre. When the bike is straight the feeling is really okay, but when we are still braking hard but we begin to lean the bike, we cannot slide.

"That slide helps a lot to turn the bike and especially to unload the front.

"We already knew this and we thought we solved the problem, but at the end it was not solved. So it's difficult for me to let the bike go sideways, unloading the front in that part and releasing the brake at the apex.

"For this reason it's very difficult to turn the bike. I have to keep the brakes on for a lot of time and I don't feel okay because even if I feel a lot of load on the front, the rear is pushing and I cannot release the brakes.

"We tried to solve the problem by changing the height of the bike [to create more weight transfer], and this was a good move but still not perfect. We need to work with the engine brake to slide a bit when I lean the bike but we still miss something."

Dovizioso - who was able to make a step forward with the tyre behaviour using his testing data from Wednesday, finishing fourth overall on the Friday timesheets - agreed:

"Yeah, this is one of the characteristics of this tyre. It has a lot of grip, the casing is softer but it’s very difficult to make the slide you want if we compare it to the previous tyre.

"We are struggling because we need some slide on entry to brake in the way we want or need with our bike. We are working on that.

"I’m happy because we did a step from Wednesday. All our work is adapting to the tyre. Like we expect at every track. It’s not because it’s better or worse, it’s different.

"In Qatar, we were struggling but we found a way. In Jerez it’s a difficult track for us and the temperature doesn’t help us. We are struggling a bit in this moment but I’m really happy about the improvement we did in two days. Still I think there is a lot of work to do."

While the twisty Jerez circuit has often been a tough challenge for Ducati, Petrucci pointed out he had set a new lap record ahead of qualifying last season.

"I remember so well last year in FP3 I did the lap record, then Quartararo improved on it in qualifying, but this time the tyre is really different," said the Italian, who was 21st and then 13th in Friday's pair of track sessions.

Meanwhile, needing to use even more physical effort to turn the Ducati is certainly not ideal given the withering Jerez heat.

"It's really tough to ride this bike in this heat," Petrucci admitted. "We need a lot of effort, a lot of strength to ride this bike. After 2-3 laps the situation became very difficult.

"The heat is unbelievable. More-or-less it’s like Malaysia or Thailand, but here when you follow other riders you feel like there is a hairdryer in your face. It's unbelievable. I don't remember something like that.

"I think it will be one of the most difficult races of my life."

 

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