Phillip Island, Ducati's bête noire. It was here that Andrea Dovizioso lost a decent world championship slice last year. This time around, the Borgo Panigale team is better prepared, Gigi Dall’Igna displaying greater confidence.
“This is an important race because Phillip Island is a track at which the qualities of our bike count for little – underlines the engineer - it's not a track where you exploit the engine, or with a lot of hard braking and acceleration. Gearing is long, there are various corners. It's the most complex track for us”.
One of the difficulties involves the section following Siberia.
“This too is a potential problem to overcome, in those sections you are leaning for a long while and then need to just touch the gas mid-turn. Those are the corners where we've suffered in the past, so we'll see to what extent we've improved”.
The path to follow is that traced during recent races.
“The setting won't be too different to that of Motegi. We'll use a medium set-up and then after FP1 we'll decide how to proceed. The first session will be key and we hope not to touch anything on the bike until Sunday (he smiles)”.
The team will also be without Lorenzo. A heavy blow, as the Majorcan could have provided important indications this weekend.
“It would have been better to have both riders- admits Dall’Igna - we need as much information as possible from this race in preparation for 2019”.
The engineers tries to remain positive.
“Before this race, we've faced others that were similar in some ways - I'm talking about Aragon and Sachsenring, where we suffered in the past but have been competitive this year”.
A final word about Alvaro Bautista's participation.
“The bike is very different to the one he rides, as is the base set-up. So the first sessions will allow Alvaro to make some checks. Bayliss? It would have been the icing on the cake, but we shouldn't forget that he's almost 50”.