The third and final day of IRTA testing organized at the Sepang circuit saw Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow continue development work on their new Desmosedici GP14 machines in the same perfect track and weather conditions that blessed the Malaysian test session since Tuesday. The main results were that a lot of mileage was notched up on the new bike, useful data was gathered for future development, and some measure of satisfaction was also achieved by the two riders and the mechanics and technicians of the Italian squad.
Once again Andrea Dovizioso made a major step forward, the Italian lowering his time set yesterday by a further eight-tenths of a second, and he then concluded his day early half-way through the afternoon after completing his work load. Dovizioso’s time of 2 minutes 00.370 seconds was the best ever recorded by the Italian at the Sepang circuit, on any bike. Cal Crutchlow on the other hand, continued to lap until the 6 pm closure, trying to put in as much mileage as possible on the new bike, with which he will tackle his first season with the Bologna-based manufacturer team.
A major contribution in this early part of the season was made by the Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro, who finished day 3 with another 57 laps to his name and with a best time of 2m01.782s.
All the protagonists of the MotoGP World Championship will meet up again at Sepang for the second session of IRTA tests in three weeks’ time, from February 26-28.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #4) – 7th (2m00.370s)
“I am really pleased with these three days of testing because we managed to do a good job and improve a lot. Now we can brake harder, corner entry is easier and quicker, we can accelerate a bit earlier and therefore use more power in the early acceleration phase. We also managed to set some quite fast lap times. In fact, I recorded a time that I had never before managed to do here in Malaysia on any bike, and this makes me happy. We also improved our race pace and so this test was really positive. I didn’t expect to be able to improve so much, but we must remain with our feet firmly on the ground because the gap is still far too high for the objectives we wish to achieve.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 12th (2m01.057s)
“I know the position doesn’t look too good but I have to say that I’m pleased. I’m a long way from Dovi but overall we’re quite consistent and faster than yesterday. We found some good things with the bike, I just did the lap time at the wrong time of the day, at quarter past twelve when it was 15° hotter than when everyone else did their time. I’m not too concerned about the overall time, we seem to have found some things with the bike that enable you to push it a bit more. The limit seems to be a lot more than on the GP13, which is good, and this bike seems to be improving all the time. Overall I’m happy, the lap times I was doing today are not far off last year’s on a different bike, it’s just that everyone’s going a lot faster.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 15th (2m01.782s)
“This final day was really tough the tiredness really started to set in! I also did a long-run at 2 pm to see how my GP14 went with the fuel consumption. In any case I’m pleased with the work we did, we picked up a lot of useful information and let’s hope we can improve in the next tests. Here we improved on each day, even in our fastest lap, and so I’ll continue to carry out my role with commitment to give as much information as possible to the official team riders and to the Ducati engineers.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“I have to admit that I am quite satisfied with the way things went in these three days of testing at Sepang. The climate within the team certainly seemed positive to me, and that’s important. It was also vitally important to try and reverse the negative trend that clearly had been created in this team, for this reason it was important to motivate the riders, everyone involved in the development work and all those working on improving the bike. I would even say that, all things considered, both in the lap times and the comments from the riders, a step in the right direction has been taken. For sure there’s a lot of work still to be done, and we need to have clear ideas and keep a cool head.”