by Gianmaria Rosati
The third and final day of testing has come to an end for Marco Melandri and the Ducati Aruba team, and the feeling is that the first meeting between the Ravenna rider and the Panigale R has been a very positive one. Marco seems to have made full use of the three days, or at least as far as his physical condition would allow, improving on his times lap after lap and coming fairly close to those set by the current factory riders, Giugliano and Davies. The latter was on track today to make up for Monday, which he lost due to a physical problem.
Let's start with today. What have you worked on?
“This morning we made some tests regarding the rear, working on the various balances with springs, preload and hydraulics. All to try and understand which path to take in order to suit my riding style. In the afternoon, we focused on weight distribution, but at a certain point I had no energy left to really be able to understand what I was feeling about the bike's behaviour, so I'll have to take another look at the modifications I've tested”.
Rumour has it that you recorded some very interesting lap times.
“Yes, we're pleased. I'm not at Davies' level of course, but that's not what I was aiming for here, also because a year without riding has had an effect. To try to set a better time, I had to push this morning when it was cooler, but it's not important; the fact remains that I've done better than I expected to”.
What particular sensations did the Panigale twin give you?
“I was able to confirm that I like the character of the twin, both in terms of acceleration and braking. The team has also really helped me; they are starting to understand my feedback and I'm getting to know their work methods. I was particularly impressed with the precision of the front of the bike, which is crucial for my riding style”.
Your overall impression of the tests?
“Each day I had a more positive approach, and things gradually improved. The key thing is to correct my position on the bike because, as I'm small, I need a slightly different tank. Anyway, I can't wait to get back on the bike, and am pleased to say that it all went really well”.