While the World Superbike riders were busy at Imola, Ducati's MotoGP team was making use of their freedom from testing restrictions to try out a few things ahead of the Italian round at Mugello. Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow were present for the factory Ducati team, as was official test rider Michele Pirro, while Andrea Iannone was circulating on the Pramac bike. The two factory men had a new chassis to test, according to GPOne.com, though the frame was not radically different to the item they have raced so far. The new chassis did have a greater range of adjustment, something which the factory felt was needed as their riders had been operating at the limits of the current frame's adjustment.
The riders also worked on set up, ahead of the race in two-and-a-half weeks' time, as well as testing some electronic strategies. Cal Crutchlow also tested a new braking solution, using ducts to cool the calipers. The ducts were a response to braking problems which Crutchlow suffered at Jerez, where he lost all braking power in the early laps of the race, before being forced to pull into the pits. The ducts are clearly visible in the photo below. The times set by Dovizioso and Crutchlow were respectable, Dovizioso three tenths of his qualifying time at last year's race, which was good enough for the front row, while Crutchlow as three tenths slower than his teammate.
Also present was Aprilia, in the guise of the ART Open class machine. In the saddle was Max Biaggi, the former 250cc and World Superbike champion taking to the track after an absence of well over a year. Biaggi tested the ART with carbon brakes and Bridgestone tires, describing it as 'a different bike to the RSV4', the machine which he became World Superbike champion on before retiring. The Italian posted 41 laps, with a fastest time of a low 1'53, according to GPOne.com.
The press release from Ducati appears below, underneath official photos from the test.
Ducati Team complete one day of testing at Mugello in preparation for Italian GP
Today saw the Ducati Team conclude an intense day of testing at Mugello in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix, which will be held at the Tuscany circuit in three weeks’ time.
Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow took advantage of good track conditions and favourable weather to search for an ideal set-up for the race, but also to try out some new electronic strategies. Further tests and checks were also carried out on the braking system of Crutchlow’s bike, after the problems the British rider encountered at Jerez.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’47.9 (67 laps)
“It’s always important to do a test at Mugello before the race, and in any case we had some new set-ups to try. It was interesting: nothing revolutionary, but in any case these were tests that will be useful for the future bike. I set some good times, but when your adversaries are not present, you mustn’t give them too much importance. In any case we are quicker than last year. Towards the end of the day I crashed at turn 4 when I lost the front. Luckily I was unharmed, but I feel sorry for the mechanics who will now have to work a bit more this evening, because tomorrow we’re all leaving for France.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 1’48.2 (55 laps)
“Today was a day we had some things to try. I tested something different to my team-mate and to Andrea Iannone, but we went back towards the base setting of the Ducati and it felt a bit more comfortable. It was a good working day with quite good weather so we are happy to leave here confirming the direction for Le Mans and looking forwards to the weekend.”