Oettl impresses again after finding 'engine brake, edge grip' gains in Catalunya

GoEleven Ducati rider Philipp Oettl continues what appears to be a seamless transition from WorldSSP to WorldSBK after finishing the two-day Catalunya test ninth fastest.
Philipp Oettl Catalunya WorldSBK
Philipp Oettl Catalunya WorldSBK

While Philipp Oettl was expected to transition well from WorldSSP to WorldSBK, the German rider is continuing to exceed expectations ahead of his first season. 

Aboard a Ducati Panigale V4 R that at times appeared to be the best package on the grid in 2021, Oettl has a bike that should give him the chance to fight for regular top tens and even top five results, something WorldSBK legend Chaz Davies, the man he replaces at GoEleven struggled to do last season. 

Although 2021 was Davies’ worst season for some time and one of the reasons he retired, Oettl is already showing more pre-season form than the Welshman did 12 months ago, which is a testament to the level the ex-Moto3 and Moto2 rider is currently at. 

As high as sixth during the early part of day-two, Oettl eventually finished 1.1 seconds down on Toprak Razgatlioglu, however, the reigning world champion was close to four tenths clear of anyone, meaning the 2022 rookie was a lot closer to the type of riders he would be aiming to battle against throughout the season. 

Speaking after another successful test, Oettl said: "During the first day we tried many new technical parts; Spark exhaust, brake system, different kinds of anti spin. 

"We also did many laps in race configuration, we did many long runs. Towards the end of the day, we found a small solution that helped me a little bit with the edge grip." 

That was day-one, so how about day-two for the 25 year-old? Well, a significant step in his performance was again found, but this time regarding engine braking.

"In the second day we did one step more with the engine brake, then we tried a little bit more on the set-up; we found our direction and a good improvement, immediately, by half a second, with used tyres too. 

"I think this is really good. Barcelona was a completely different track compared to Misano and Portimao, with a lot less grip, it was really difficult, but I think we found our way and a good solution. 

"Now I am really happy looking forward to Aragon, we will have test there and then the start of the season!"

With Oettl looking like a potential rookie of the year candidate, although Iker Lecuona appears to be the favourite based on testing, one name who is struggling a lot more is fellow Ducati rookie Luca Bernardi. 

The Sammarinese rider crashed twice on day-one, before finishing P17 - 3.2 seconds off the pace at the conclusion of Saturday’s running.

"It has been a difficult couple of days," said Bernardi. "We have been working as hard as we could with the team, but I crashed twice on the first day, fortunately without any consequences. 

"I felt comfortable and when I crashed the feeling was good. I would like to thank the whole team for their work, and now we look forward to the next test at Aragon before the debut."

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