Ducati's Two-Day Misano MotoGP Test: More Small Steps, And Chassis Updates

The Ducati Corse department have had a busy two days at Misano. Alongside the Ducati World Superbike squad of Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini, Ducati's full MotoGP program was at the circuit, with both factory riders, Andrea Iannone, Alex de Angelis (who is to replace Ben Spies at Laguna Seca), and both test riders.

They also had plenty of things to test and evaluate. Ducati had brought another new chassis, a revised version of the lab bike version previously tested by both Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden, and being raced by Michele Pirro. That chassis spent most of its time in the hands of Dovizioso, the Italian declaring himself satisfied with the improvements made. Dovizioso told Italian site GPOne.com that the chassis was slightly better on corner entry, though the understeer remained once the throttle was opened. He intends to race the chassis at the Sachsenring next weekend, though so far, there is only one of the chassis available, meaning he would have to use two bikes with two different chassis at the tricky German circuit. Dovizioso also admitted that he did not have a base set up yet for the new chassis, as it was too different from the standard chassis to be able to use the set up he had been using so far.

While Dovizioso was testing the new chassis, Nicky Hayden was working on electronics. Ducati had brought a new anti-wheelie strategy to test, which will be important ahead of the Sachsenring and Laguna Seca, two short tracks where wheelies are a major problem. Andrea Iannone was evaluating the lab bike, and decided to use the new chassis from the next race. Though the chassis did not see any improvement in times, it required less physical effort to ride, Iannone told GPOne.com, and that was reason enough to make the switch. 

Iannone's teammate for Laguna Seca, Alex De Angelis, got his first taste of the Desmosedici at Misano. Though he had ridden a MotoGP machine before, the Bridgestone-shod Gresini Honda, he had no experience with either a Ducati or a 1000cc MotoGP bike. The power had been what impressed him most, De Angelis told GPOne.com. De Angelis' times were a couple of seconds off the pace of the MotoGP regulars, who were lapping in the low 1'35s. Andrea Dovizioso managed to post a fastest lap of 1'34.5, which is still six tenths off the race lap record.

Below are the press releases issued by Ducati after the Misano test.

Ducati Team concludes test at Misano

The Ducati Team today completed a busy three-day test at Misano. Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden rode on Wednesday and Thursday, whereas Michele Pirro—fresh from his recent substitute rider appearances with Pramac Racing—returned to his role as Ducati Test Team rider, beginning his work on Tuesday and continuing through to today.

Apart from a brief morning rain shower today, the test was marked by good weather, enabling the riders to focus their work, which consisted mainly of carrying out frame comparisons. They also tried some engine developments and looked for a base setup for the Grand Prix of San Marino and the Rimini Riviera, which will take place at this track in September.

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team (105 laps)

“The Misano track is a bit inconsistent for our bike, but coming from Assen, we immediately felt a bit better at this circuit. We worked on the current bike, finding a setup for the Misano race, and then we went ahead with the development of the laboratory bike, trying some new stuff and finding some interesting things. We were able to do nearly two full days of good work, and today we tried a change with the frame. There were some positives, like an improvement with the feeling on corner entry. We must decide what to do; it’s a new part, so we have to understand whether or not we can have it in time for the Sachsenring.”

Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team (158 laps)

“It’s certainly been a useful couple of days. We didn’t make any drastic improvements, but I tried something with a different anti-wheelie solution that worked quite well, and I’m happy about that for the next two tracks, which are maybe the worst two circuits for wheelies on the whole calendar. We lost a bit of time today with the rain, but in the end I did a low 1:34. That’s not a bad lap time, although we’ll certainly have to do better than that when we come here for the race. We did a lot of laps, mainly with the wheelie control and a different fork setting, and we got some good information.”

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team concludes Misano test

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team rider Andrea Iannone today completed a two-day test at the Misano circuit.

Andrea rode approximately forty laps on the ‘lab’ version of the Desmosedici GP13, and despite a break of over two hours due to bad weather, he managed to turn a best lap of 1:35.1 while working on his race pace, with an eye toward using the bike starting at the next Grand Prix, on 14 July at the Sachsenring.

Therefore satisfied with the work carried out, and with the data gathered, the team will now focus on the next round.

De Angelis tests at Misano with Ignite Pramac Racing Team

Alex De Angelis, who will serve as a substitute rider for the Ignite Pramac Racing Team at the United States Grand Prix, took part in a test at Misano today to acquaint himself with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13.

Although the day was interrupted for about two hours by a strong downpour, obliging the rider and team to stop, it produced good results. Alex, who hadn’t ridden a MotoGP bike since 2010, was able to complete over fifty laps, clocking a best time of 1:37.0.

It was a positive day for the rider from San Marino who, now that he has familiarized himself with the bike that he will race at Laguna Seca on 21 July, will use the practice days for that race to focus on finding a good setup.

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... it is still just fiddling with what they have rather than a concerted new effort or direction. Surely, surely, surely they should have had time to build something new by now? Unless they simply have no idea what to build.

fiddling and at the same time I am also convinced they have stopped trying completely radical frames etc ala Rossi's two years at the helm. Narrowing down on what is really needed is a process of iteration and unfortunately that is currently limited mostly by the availability of riders who can turn the appropriate lap times AND give the appropriate feed back. Oh, hang on a minute, I think there is an aussie who might, just might be able to do the job :-)

This is a major problem for anyone wanting to enter MotoGP, their test riders are just not at the same level so you really need a guy who can make top 5 in MotoGP who is willing to spend the time developing a bike. Only diffuculty there is they want to race and/or are very very expensive. Catch 22 anyone?

I know the grid needs bikes and that Ducati are great supporters of motorsport, but after how many years of hearing about coming improvements i suggest using them as fast looking boat anchors.
Dovi left to chase dollars and is now being paid to chase his tail. And while i got nothing but love for NH69 he needs another option.

Ducati need a design that works for more than one rider, not just one or a few. However, Rossi has shown just how hard that final 0.5% of performance is to find – not the banzai lap/short run of qualifying where the rider can push for a time or use the early grip of the tyre (although he struggled there too), but race-long performance. Checa has shown that similar problems exist in WSBK – Superstock was not a problem – the next 5% has been a lot more difficult.
We have yet to see if Rossi can repeat the Assen performance or at least keep the level of competitiveness that they seem to have found.
There is a message there I believe – it has taken 3 months of testing and competition for Yamaha to tune the bike to one rider. You can argue that the team is great or poor at developing a bike; it just indicates what Ducati are up against (and Suzuki, Aprilia, and anyone else who fancies a go).
You also only have to look at F1 to see the multiple risks associated with a single-make rule for tyres. The fact that agreement was needed to introduce a tyre for the CRT’s after a season of frustration shows it just doesn’t work well enough in an arena where updates should be arriving at every race. But if they cannot change that, they have to work on what they can.
I suspect that Ducati will soon have a new engine/gearbox layout – that is the only thing they haven’t changed and it is the main reason the rear of the bike isn’t as adjustable as it could be.
They need to get that sorted out before the freeze comes – engine design, and sponsorship…..