MotoGP, Ducati: a light in the dark
They needed a race week-end not ending with gloomy faces in the garage and politically-correct answers in front of the interviews-panel. They needed the disadvantage’s figures starting to drop instead of increasing. In other words they needed a race like the last week Qatar GP. Not a miracle race but a solid start, good to understand that all the efforts done have not been vain. A boost for carry on with the hard work.
The Losail race has been a turning point for Ducati, something they were hoping for after the promising winter test season and that had to be confirmed by the race. It is not the fifth place of Dovizioso that counts (also considering the many crashes in front of him); what really matters is the final gap from the top, almost half of that of twelve month ago. Below you can see a little resume.
Dovi and the Desmosedici did better than three years ago (when the bike were 800cc) climbing out of a hole that seemed bottomless. The lowest point in Qatar had been reached in the 2012, and the 2013 race was just a fraction better, with a gap from the front still embarrassing for the Italian bike.
Today the Desmosedici seems faster in the single lap and, much more important, in the race pace. It was over race distance, in fact, that the Italian bike was struggling most. Their results in qualifying, this year, have been a truer picture of reality.
On race-day Dovizioso made just three laps over 1’57 and his last lap was just three tenths slower than his race fastest-lap. The last year, on the contrary, he made 11 laps over 1’57 and even 2 over 1’58. Not only Dovizioso did well in Qatar. If Cal Curtchlow, in fact, has been slowed down by a problem with the transponder of his bike, Andrea Iannone was able to keep a pace on the same level of his namesake. The Pramac Ducati rider crossed the finish-line 43 seconds off the winner but the crash in the early stage of the race cost him around 30 seconds. Considering that he had to charge through the field, we may as well assume that hadn’t he crash, he would have been able to fight with Dovizioso and Espargaro.
Even leaving out any ifs and buts, the improvement is real and it is not due only to the extra fuel allowance. Dall’Igna succeeded in making the Desmosedici a more solid bike even if some chronic flaw such as the under-steering, still remains. The Italian Company must go on like this: not an easy task, considering the opponents but the start has been almost perfect.Translated by Federica De Zottis