AI: Rossi? From hero to adversary
Ducati is welcoming several new faces into their MotoGP family, and among them is Andrea Iannone, aka 'Crazy Joe.' The Italian sealed up his seat on the Pramac team when he set a lap of 1'48.3 at Mugello while testing the D16. It was a tenth faster than Valentino Rossi's best race lap on the same bike.
"Mugello was three days for me to learn the bike, and I enjoyed myself, but for me it's impossible to do better than Rossi - the young Italian rider said defensively - Testing is completely different from racing, where the sessions are shorter. And Valentino certainly isn't a rookie; if he had problems, there were certainly valid reasons why. Up until yesterday, Valentino was my idol. Tomorrow he'll be my adversary. He wished me 'good luck,' and part of me is happy he returned to Yamaha, because, despite his struggles in recent years, he is still a top rider."
And what about Andrea's own arrival in MotoGP?
"Getting to MotoGP is both a finish line and a starting line for me. It's fantastic to do it on an Italian bike, but I'm just starting my Ducati adventure and I need to stay calm and patient. I've been racing for a long time, but I must adopt a new work method, studying the electronics and brakes."
"I would have wanted to come into MotoGP in a different way, but this was the right time. It's fundamental for me to have factory support, and I found some highly motivated people here."
Also moving up from Moto2 are Marc Marquez and Bradley Smith.
"Those two will be my point of reference, especially Marc, whom I had some nice battles with. Everyone is saying he's getting on a better bike than me, but I don't see it that way. Not having tested other MotoGP bikes could be an advantage for me, but I need to gain a lot of experience and understand if I need to change my training. The Jerez test will be more important in that regard."
Plus, there is also the risk of rain for the next two days.
"It would still be useful for me to ride, to understand the bike's behavior in the wet. But I don't know how to swim, so at most I could tread water."
Translation by Sean Sedacca