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MotoGP Testing Ends in Qatar With Ducati Stamping its Place in the Top Tier

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Any lingering doubts about the speed of the new Ducati Desmosedici GP15 were erased in Qatar over the last few days. Running hard tires equivalent to the competition throughout the test, Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone leave with the first and third quickest lap times. They were split by defending champ Marc Marquez (Honda) who was second quickest. The first race is in less than two weeks at the same Losail Circuit in Qatar. As you can see from the combined times from the first two days of testing (Day 3 was rained out), this could be the first season in years where other riders fight at the front with Marquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi.

Here are the results, followed by a Ducati press release.

Pos Rider Team Fastest lap Lead. Gap Prev. Gap Laps
1 DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team 1:54.907 33 / 38
2 MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team 1:55.091 0.184 0.184 27 / 54
3 IANNONE, Andrea Ducati Team 1:55.104 0.197 0.013 16 / 46
4 LORENZO, Jorge Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1:55.500 0.593 0.396 15 / 51
5 ROSSI, Valentino Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1:55.581 0.674 0.081 50 / 61
6 PEDROSA, Dani Repsol Honda Team 1:55.582 0.675 0.001 22 / 40
7 CRUTCHLOW, Cal CWM LCR Honda 1:55.624 0.717 0.042 40 / 42
8 SMITH, Bradley Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:55.648 0.741 0.024 13 / 49
9 ESPARGARO, Pol Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1:55.658 0.751 0.010 29 / 46
10 ABRAHAM, Karel AB Motoracing 1:55.765 0.858 0.107 38 / 41
11 HERNANDEZ, Yonny Pramac Racing 1:55.772 0.865 0.007 13 / 33
12 ESPARGARO, Aleix Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:55.795 0.888 0.023 22 / 33
13 REDDING, Scott Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS 1:55.803 0.896 0.008 50 / 60
14 VIÑALES, Maverick Team Suzuki Ecstar 1:55.810 0.903 0.007 31 / 42
15 BARBERA, Hector Avintia Racing 1:56.058 1.151 0.248 20 / 50
16 HAYDEN, Nicky Drive M7 Aspar 1:56.104 1.197 0.046 40 / 44
17 DI MEGLIO, Mike Avintia Racing 1:56.259 1.352 0.155 40 / 53
18 LAVERTY, Eugene Drive M7 Aspar 1:56.342 1.435 0.083 25 / 54
19 PIRRO, Michele Ducati Test Team 1:56.476 1.569 0.134 30 / 32
20 BRADL, Stefan Athina Forward Racing 1:56.724 1.817 0.248 4 / 17
21 MILLER, Jack CWM LCR Honda 1:56.758 1.851 0.034 47 / 50
22 PETRUCCI, Danilo Pramac Racing 1:56.762 1.855 0.004 9 / 32
23 BAZ, Loris Athina Forward Racing 1:56.936 2.029 0.174 8 / 40
24 BAUTISTA, Alvaro Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:57.273 2.366 0.337 36 / 46
25 DE ANGELIS, Alex Octo Ioda Racing Team 1:57.390 2.483 0.117 25 / 45
26 MELANDRI, Marco Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1:57.982 3.075 0.592 14 / 23

Ducati Press Release:

Today’s third day of pre-season IRTA testing in Qatar was characterized by the rain that began to fall on the Losail International Circuit in the early afternoon and which then intensified as the day wore on, making it impossible for the riders to go out on track. In Qatar, the possibility of using rain tyres is not an option due to the floodlit illumination of the track, which creates glare on the wet surface.

As a result, bikes and riders remained in the garage and so the final testing day came to an early end also for the two Ducati Team riders.

The times set yesterday on day 2 remain unchanged, leaving Andrea Dovizioso at the top of the timesheets with a 1’54.907 lap and Andrea Iannone in third place, with a time of 1’55.104, just 13/1000ths away from Marquez.

Even though they were unable to complete today’s scheduled workload, which also included an entire race simulation, both Italian riders now return home satisfied with their results and the improved feeling they have obtained with the Desmosedici GP15.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’54.907 (1st), total 86 laps
“We are very satisfied with the results obtained in the first two days of testing in Qatar, because we were always very quick both on new tyres and used ones. It’s a pity that today we were unable to go out on track, because we had some important tests to do in view of the race and we wanted to gather some extra data, but the rain made it impossible. In any case we start the season very satisfied over the work done with the new GP15, which immediately went well here in Qatar. I really think that we can have our say in the race, and for sure things are a lot more positive than last year. I want to thank my team and all the guys in Ducati Corse because they have worked really hard and very well!”

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’55.104 (3rd), total 96 laps
“I am happy with the way these two days of testing went, because they were undoubtedly very positive. We went really well and again managed to improve the feeling with the new GP15, even though I am very disappointed that we were unable to benefit from this final day of testing, which for us was important. We had scheduled a specific work programme in order to improve some small things and to do some more tests, but unfortunately the rain prevented everyone from going out on track. I am optimistic for the race weekend and can’t wait to get back on track here in ten days’ time.”

Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“It is a pity that we were unable to make the most out of today’s final day, because we had scheduled an intense work programme with both of our riders, which also included an entire race simulation. The Desmosedici GP15 is still a brand-new bike, and so this last day of track action would have been very useful for us. However we are happy with the results that we obtained during the first two days and the overall reliability of the project. Both Dovizioso and Iannone constantly lapped in the leading positions, they were always able to set interesting times and this makes us optimistic for the future, even though we know that we still have a lot more work to do”.

21 Comments

  1. DaveA says:

    Everyone is talking about Dovi, and for good reason. But, let’s not forget about Iannone. He is young and relatively inexperienced, and he’s smokin’ fast on this new bike. Also last year he was the fastest guy on a Duc on several occasions, much of which was achieved on an older version of the bike than Dovi was riding. We are going to see bright red bikes making life difficult for Hondas and Yamahas on many occasions this season for sure.

  2. What a great prelude to what should be another really entertaining year in MotoGP. 99 is fit and ready to rock, VR46 would love to log a 10th c’ship against the phenom, nothing suggests anyone will stop MM, and the new Ducs are so fast they’re surely expecting to be “limited” to full factory specs almost immediately. 14 bikes in the top second, without even seeing the last night of testing, means more teams are closer to the limits of the tires than we’ve seen for awhile. Let the good times roll!

  3. Blackcayman says:

    Marquez is sandbagging, just a little?

    Anyway, this is great news – more exciting racing is coming our way…(hopeful voice).

  4. Vrooom says:

    Hoping the Duc can hang with the big boys for a full race. As others have said if they do that often they’ll lose the few advantages afforded them by the rules. It’s impressive that both Dovi and Iannone are so close. And is that Karel Abraham in the top 10 he asked, jaw hanging open. Should be a good season.

  5. bmidd says:

    Call me when they give out points and trophies for being quickest in testing. Until then, just make sure you carve out space in the middle of the pack for these Ducatis to race each other in.

  6. Provologna says:

    Holy Mole! That’s one of the coolest pics of a motorcycle race bike I ever did see. Love it!

    Go Ducati! Maybe we got some racing for a change at the front of the MotoGP circuit.

  7. Starmag says:

    The San Andreas fault puts a seismic crack in Honda/Yamaha dominance of the time sheets.

  8. mickey says:

    See thats why you have to love MotoGP . Ducati gets riders like Hayden and Rossi and Crutchlow but the bike is crap. new engineer, new less experienced riders, new bike and they are running with the big dogs

    • Chris says:

      I would like to see a 3rd team dicing for podiums if not wins…

      Still, I wonder how good their pace is or will be over race distance. And what happens after they have some success and then lose some of the advantages that the rules give them.

      • Dave says:

        Based on Dovi’s comments (fast on used tires), it sounds like they will be good. These times were done on the same tires as everyone else.

        When has Karl Abraham ridden so far up the order?

        • TimC says:

          Dovi has his technique down. Look at his perfect modern-hanging-off posture in the shot used for this article. I think he’s a coming GOAT very possibly.

          • VLJ says:

            Dovi has zero chance of ever becoming a GOAT. Considering how many years he’s been racing in Moto GP, he would’ve needed to have won at least a few titles by now just to merit even a possible mention in some future discussion.

          • TimC says:

            OK, GOAT was overstatement…Got a little excited there. I did think he was a newer rider than he is. But he’s showing fine form right there and clearly hauling in testing. He’s basically showing the right riding to win big if he can do it consistently…who knows, maybe the next season or so he breaks through.

          • mickey says:

            Dovi is a very good racer and was right behind the factory boys and mixing it up with them when he was riding a more or less factory Honda before Marquez came along. He is undoubtedly the best non Honda non Yamaha factory racer on the grid.

          • Mugwump says:

            He did great things on an unsupported 250 Honda.

        • mickey says:

          Yea what got into Abraham? He has never been that fast. Ahead of Hayden.. By 6 places? Ahead of Bradl? Something is wrong with the universe.

  9. pat depp says:

    dovi is quite a competent rider but the duc is still a brand new platform, yami and honda are way ahead. hopefuly it will finaly be an interesting season, instead of watching old competitive racing on youtube. ride safely.