In just over a week, the MotoGP will be back in action in Valencia, even if everyone's thoughts are already projected towards 2020.
That's right, since Ricardo Tormo's tests will be the appetizer for next season, even if someone has thought well to plan in advance.
This is Michele Pirro' s case. He took to the Spanish track for two weeks, in order to become familiar with the new GP20. Now, everyone is anxiously awaiting the latest evolution out of Borgo Panigale, to compare to Marc Marquez's Honda.
"I saw and tested the GP20," said the test rider. "It's great, but you won't see it until Sepang. So you'll still have lots to think about," he said laughing.
What can we expect from the new Ducati but, above all, what's changed as compared to the GP19?
"We make improvements every year, and all this is the result of the developments brought about by the manufacturers and by the riders. I think it's right to wait before showing our rivals our hand, since the competition is fierce. Small improvements have been made, although the starting point is good. We'll have to work a lot on cornering, since we're not doing that bad in other areas. If we can have an even more powerful engine, it could be more helpful."
Can we say that, with regard to development, Ducati is behind for the first time after years?
"The thing that has improved Honda the most is the engine, even if Marquez is the one who always makes the difference in the end. We've instead gotten 16 podiums, and that's nothing to sneeze at. We haven't gone backwards. We've remained constant, improving, and the GP19 is a step ahead of the GP18. The GP20 will be yet another step forward with additional improvements."
What aces does Ducati have up its sleeve against Marquez, since you've set the pace for years when it comes to development?
"You can't argue about Marc's talent. We're aggressive and want to hinder his supremacy. Dovizioso is always the vertex. We might be missing some continuity on all the tracks. It's not easy. Yamaha and Suzuki are strong, so we can't give up."
Can we talk about a revolution for this 2020?
"The GP20 will be the successor to the previous bike. It would be crazy to try to revolutionize the Ducati. I think the same thing also applies to the other teams. An example could be Yamaha with Quartararo. If the bike works, you just have to improve it, and that's what we're doing, also because starting from scratch with a project is not our case."
When it comes to development, what went wrong?
"We need to blame ourselves and find a way to improve what wasn't done well before. The goal is to resolve the critical areas, since we're strong in braking and acceleration. Unfortunately, we're lacking in distance, the aspect that doesn't make us complete. What matters is having a close-knit group and just keep trying."