Subscriber Feature: The Importance Of Test Riders, Part 3: Davide Tardozzi On The Importance Of Michele Pirro, And Ducati's Role As A Pioneer

In the third part of our series on test riders, we come to the rider who has arguably had the biggest impact on the factory he has worked with. Michele Pirro has been the workhorse for Ducati's test program, putting in the miles to do the hard work, while at the same time being fast enough to be genuinely competitive during his wildcard appearances. Ducati's use of Michele Pirro has clearly inspired other factories to pursue similar avenues, with KTM taking Mika Kallio and Suzuki using Sylvain Guintoli.

In the next couple of days, we will have an interview with Pirro on how it feels to be a test rider, but first, Ducati team boss Davide Tardozzi on Pirro's role as a test rider for Ducati. Tardozzi talks about the importance Pirro's speed has had to the development of the Desmosedici, and how Ducati try to cultivate that speed through competition, either in the Italian CIV championship or by scheduling tests with other manufactures to encourage riders to try to beat each other's lap times.

Q: How important has Pirro been to Ducati?

Davide Tardozzi: Michele for sure has been a huge part of our development, because not only his comments, that are always quite good and quite precise, but mainly the way that he's riding. He's able to ride consistently and have a good average on the lap time, and very fast. That means that he can give a lot information to the engineers, and the engineers have data to analyze. And this is the most important thing of Michele, and that's why I guess all the manufacturers are looking - once more, because they looked at Ducati for the last couple of years – to this thing too. KTM took Kallio, Suzuki took Guintoli, everybody now is looking for a fast rider, because they understood that this helps a lot Ducati in the past, and it might help them too.

Q: Does racing help Michele be fast?

DT: Even that is something that we launched in the championship. And now Kallio is doing wildcards, Guintoli is doing wildcards. We are proud to show that we are having these good ideas before the others.

Q: You have all the best ideas and the rest copy you?

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What happened to Casey? Am I that far out of the loop? I thought he was testing for Ducati. 

Still there. Last seen hanging around the garage with Lorenzo early in the season.

He is only scheduled for some tests here and there. Pirro is the workhorse. Casey is sliding into an ambassador role that gets to ride bikes now and again.