In Malaysia, Ducati had made the rivals sweat, but at Phillip Island the situation changed. The Australian track is not the best for the Desmosedici, or rather, it highlights its limitations. Andrea Dovizioso, the best of the riders in red with the 7th best time, is well aware of this. These 3 days of tests provided him with the confirmations that he probably expected.
“We made some small improvements, but we still have not managed to improve enough on the negative sides that we had last year - he admits - mainly getting the bike to turn more quickly in the middle of corners. So I am well aware that this is not enough to stay at the front on all the tracks.”
The GP17 did not suddenly take a step backward, but at Phillip Island its strong points count for less.
“Certain limitations of the bike are more evident here because of the track. This is confirmation that we need to improve more - Dovi continues - On certain circuits we can be fast even with our limitations because we have other positive aspects to rely on, but on others, like this one, it is very difficult, especially in a race. This is why I am pushing hard to improve on this point.”
By now it is clear that it will take more than just a few clicks on the suspension adjustment.
“The engineers are working hard and on all fronts. We are improving in other areas, but we are still lacking in that point - he points out - I don’t think there is a setup to solve this problem. You can take it to a certain point, but there are various factors that need to be combined. I know it is not easy. No one has a secret recipe; we need to work together.”
From this point of view, Andrea is satisfied.
“I am pleased with the way we are working and how I feel on the bike - he says - I am more competitive and complete than last year. I am able to do times when I want to and that is fundamental. However, I see the situation not only from a personal point of view and we want to and must aim for the title, so that is why I am not 100% happy.”
Lorenzo is also struggling.
“Jorge is coming from many years with Yamaha. It is an enormous leap and he is in an entirely different situation from mine - Dovizioso specifies - He has had some difficulties, as with any rider coming from another bike, you expect various things, but until you try a bike you can never know it in all its details. Anyway, at the end of the tests, Jorge managed to resolve the situation and go fast. He is a champion and a hard working rider. We will need to see him in the race; everything is different there.”
The first will be in Qatar, friendly turf for the Ducati.
“In the last two years we have been very competitive at Losail and maybe we will be again this year because we have improved. I actually see Marquez and Viñales as being particularly strong also, but we will certainly be going there trying to win” he promises.