The new course in Ducati is now officially underway, and the first day of testing in Phillip Island saw Scott Redding in 6th place and Chaz Davies in 10th. Obviously, the results are nothing to boast about, seeing as these are just tests and the first day even, but sensations on both sides of the box seem good. First of all, we heard from Scott Redding, in his first days as a Ducati rider on the Island.
"It was a good day - said Redding – It’s a new track with this bike so it takes time to understand everything. In the morning I didn’t do many laps, and in general I still have to try a few things: I did a small race simulation that did not go badly, I was conservative at the beginning and I understood some things. I have to work on the last part of the race, which will be very important here."
Speaking of the technical aspect Scott still has a smile on his face but does not deny that there are still some aspects that need to be cleared up.
“The feelings on the bike have been good but they can be better, probably my main problem is the bumps, sometimes I lose more than the others if I go offline slightly, for example at turn 4. These are all things we’ve got to understand now, so we don’t repeat the mistakes on race weekend”.
Another important topic is tyres, since the Pirellis are all new for the British rider.
"I suffered a bit on the bumps, especially offline. Pirelli have a harder than average casing, and as I’ve never used them, I still have to get used to the way they behave. At the end of the day I tried to improve my lap time, but the tyre was slipping a lot, especially on the right side, more than the one with which I did 15 laps, but topping the timesheets is not our current goal ".
It is impossible not to think of Bautista's feats on this track with the Panigale, something that Scott does not downplay, but he did point out that this year there is a lot of competition.
“Bautista is one of the kings of Phillip Island, he has always been fast here, and I could learn from him, but the track is slower now than in the past. I want to win but there is no shortage of rivals, primarily the Yamahas which have been quick. Davies? The first man you have to beat is always your teammate, but now we are both working on the bike. I personally feel good with the 2020 Panigale and I want to work and race with that".
Davies: "First a perfect set-up, then I'll think about the tyres"
On the other side of the box, the final position could be a bit more worrying, but Chaz Davies is not discouraged by his position. "I immediately felt comfortable, I started with the 2019 bike and then switched to the 2020 one: there are some things to solve but they are details, I don't look at the classification and I'm not worried. Last year I was very far from the right path, but now I’m there and I’m always learning new things on every circuit".
The subject of tyres remains crucial also for the Welshman, who has been thinking about other aspects for the moment. "The tyre situation is still unclear, today I tried the tyre that was used last year as a benchmark, but I still have to find the perfect set-up before working on the tyres."
In this sense the collaboration with Scott Redding, which seems to work, could be useful. “We have shared some things, then obviously everyone has their own problems. This track, by the way, is one of the most unusual, it is not the easiest for me even if I’ve had results here".
Finally, Chaz laid out the program for tomorrow, keeping in mind what the fundamental points are. “Tomorrow I want to find an excellent base set-up on the 2020 Panigale, and then focus on the tyres. I don't know if the tyres will condition the race, Alvaro did a great job last year and I'm trying to get some ideas, but in general you mustn’t push too hard in order not to have problems. "
Photo by Bruno Silverii