Ducati Brings a Knife to a Gunfight at Sepang

Ducati Corse

Any hope that a change of riders could change fortunes for Ducati were dashed at the first official MotoGP test of 2013 in Sepang, Malaysia.  Arriving with a bike pretty much the same as was raced in the latter part of last season neither factory stalwart Nicky Hayden nor Ducati virgin Andrea Dovizioso could get anywhere near the Japanese machines boding for another lack lustre season for Ducati fans.

Both factory riders finished over 2 seconds behind fastest man Dani Pedrosa and only 1/2 a second ahead of the first CRT machine piloted by Aleix Espargaro.  The team’s press release below seems to readily acknowledge the enormous task they have ahead of them.  

In marked contrast, former Ducati man Valentino Rossi slotted happily back into Yamaha finished 3rd fastest and 0.4 seconds down on Pedrosa and just a 10th behind his teammate and reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Today marked the conclusion of the three-day IRTA-organized test at the Malaysian Sepang circuit, where teams prepared for the new MotoGP Championship, to start on 7 April in Qatar. Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden took to the track on their Desmosedici GP13 bikes.

The Italian, who is making his debut with the Desmosedici this year, had to adapt to a bike and team that are completely new for him and, thanks in part to his recent experience aboard other factory bikes, was able to give his first real feedback to the Ducati engineers regarding the frame, electronics and engine characteristics.

The American, beginning his fifth season aboard the Italian bike, tried to find his rhythm as he used the three days of testing to provide his own valuable input for the future development of the bike.

The team certainly can’t be satisfied with its results, so it heads home aware of the challenging work that must be carried out in order to get back toward the top of the time sheets. They will begin trying new ideas during the next test at Sepang at month’s end and at the Jerez test in late March.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th, 2:02.110
“We obviously can’t be happy when our times are that far off of the top guys, but we knew it was going to be tough. Sepang has never been a particularly good track for Ducati: we raced here in October, and the bike hasn’t changed much since then. We found a couple little things over the course of the test, which allowed us to improve our consistency on day three, but I think we need something big. Anyway, it was nice to be back on the bike and working with the guys. The team has worked extremely hard, and we just have to stay motivated and keep giving them the right information so that we can hopefully start making some real progress soon.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) 10th, 2:02.277
“Yes, it was a difficult test but we didn’t expect it to be any different. We’re here to improve the situation and everybody knows the level we are now so we have to improve. We tested as much stuff as we could, because we’re focused on improving the bike. The gap to the others is big, and we pushed a lot to understand the bike. I gave a lot of feedback, maybe too much! We don’t know how the next test in Sepang will be. There’s too short a time between now and then, so it’s difficult to do something big in this time. We still have to decide which parts we can bring to the second test. Unfortunately, we need time to try something big.”

Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati MotoGP Project Director
“Obviously, we’re not satisfied. We knew we were starting from a base that needed significant development work, but it’s not nice to realize we’re still so far from the leaders. Still, our engineers gathered important data, and now the only thing to do is to roll up our sleeves and continue the development program in the factory. The goal is clear: bring Ducati back to the top of the results sheet as soon as possible.”

Source: Edited Ducati Corse Release

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12 Responses to “Ducati Brings a Knife to a Gunfight at Sepang”

  1. :-(

  2. ducati should give tons of money to reverse casey stoner’s mind not returning to MotoGP pretty sure when he’s back people will love him

  3. they should bring back the D16 1000cc. Capirossi kicked ass on it. just put engine upgrades and suspension but the bike was awesome

  4. this is the year of rebuilding .. wait – their production bikes in 3 years will benefit greatly .. mx

  5. Just how much suck does management need before they get with it? If Audi cancels the program instead of doubling down then Ducati is dead to me. Stoner can’t make that bike go- remember his success was more to do with exclusive tires than outright bike or rider performance.

  6. One of the better lines from the “Untouchables” behind the Connery’s “It’s the Chicago way” monologue. Too bad it seems appropriate here. : (

  7. now there, who will all of ducati fanboys blame this time?…you can’t blame rossi anymore, or can you?…nevermind, he already showed you on the track where was the problem last 2 years.

  8. Rossi left for this very reason. He realized there was no chance the Ducati could be competitive this year. Audi is committed to changes but nothing could really happen until they gained control. It will be interesting to see what direction they move in this season.

  9. i think they should discard this season and design new D16 from zero, because they need radical changes, and GP13 is just a GP12 with a different livery, and it’s on its performance peak (if we can call that a performance) so they can’t develop it more.

  10. Back to the Future: Trellis frame

  11. All Ducati needs is to stop trying new garbage and go back to the bike that Casey won the title on. Forget this carbon monocoque crap and snub ugly nose bike. BTW Spies career in GPs will come to an end with Ducati. Back to WSBK he goes!!

  12. @James Thomas….moron!!