Today's Aruba SBK team presentation was of course attended by Ducati Corse General Manager Gigi Dall’Igna. The Italian engineer performed miracles in MotoGP last season, but is not overlooking the production-derived series either, particularly now that the Panigale V4 is getting ready to replace the glorious twin as of 2019.
Before speaking about SBK, Dall’Igna commented on the recent Sepang tests, where Lorenzo set a new track record with the GP18.
“Lorenzo has been growing ever since the Brno GP last year and could have already won, the only thing preventing him was less than perfect race management - he underlines - He already had the speed to do well and so he didn't simply do it all at Sepang, it's a growth path that he has traveled along with us and us with him. I believe we've given him everything he needs to express his potential, we'll see”.
This doesn't take away from the fact that they left Sepang with a smile, with Dovi and Petrucci also proving fast…
“It's still just the first test, it's important of course but can't be seen as a litmus test for the entire championship. Actually, in recent years, those who have been quick at Sepang haven't been able to replicate the same results during the season. It's always better to start out well, but we have two more tests in which to carry out more fine tuning on the bike, in some cases significant, like with the new fairing that we'll bring to Thailand”.
Will this be a game-changer at Buriram?
“We will focus on aerodynamics at the next test, but not only that. We'll also have some new chassis elements, ideas that brought positive results during simulations. We have some ingredients to mix together in the pot and we'll see what comes out of it”.
Speaking of aerodynamics, Cecchinelli told us he is thinking of modifying the regulation.
“Corrado says things that we can agree with, but I don't think it's right to point the finger at these appendages. Because, and I'm not the only one to say this since our rivals have had a rethink, from a safety perspective, the wings didn't represent a problem and I'm sure that these systems won't be a problem either”.
So what should the next step be then?
“Let's refine the regulation, right now it is left too open to interpretation and is a huge responsibility for the Technical Director, who much decide alone. I'm also agree and am convinced that something more technical should be written, but I don't want to find myself having to redesign the fairings again, meaning added costs, next year. Let's carry on along this line”.
In terms of the regulation, there's also been a change in SBK, with a reduction of 800 engine revs…
“We were already running at a lower speed to our rivals so from this standpoint, we've probably been penalised more than they have . We are working hard to make up what we've lost and hope to bring something new to Phillip Island. Then, during the season, we will work on other components, like the exhaust, to optimise them. I hope to be able to give our riders what they need to achieve the results that we all want”.
where are the disadvantages?
“We have lost something in terms of maximum power but also in terms of torque, in that the regulation also prevents us from modifying gear ratios”.
Realistically, what do you expect from the twin in its last season?
“I am someone who always wants to try and win and this is what I ask of my technicians and riders too. The goal is to bring home the title, it won't be easy but we'll try”.
And looking ahead to 2019 and the new Panigale V4?
“I'm optimistic, Ducati has built a wonderful bike and I think our V4 is state of the art in terms of today's sports bikes. It is a bike that will suit the SBK well, and I think I speak for everyone when I say we cannot wait to use it”.