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GP Week : Issue 197
MOTOGP >>> nEWs DUCATI CLOSINg IN Ducati has closed the gap to its MotoGP rivals, but there is still a long way to go to be on the podium, according to the team. At its season launch in Munich, Ducati Corse general manager Luigi Dall’Igna said that the team had “significantly reduced” the gap to its works team rivals Honda and Yamaha but there was still much work to be done. At the recent Phillip Island tyre test Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow were within 0.4s of Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha M1, which topped the sheets on all three days. At last October ’s Australian Grand Prix, the fastest Ducati in Qualifying was that of Nicky Hayden, who started eighth, 1.39s slower than Lorenzo, who was on pole. Ducati will controversially run under Dorna’s new ‘Factory 2’ classification this season, which will allow it to access the same fuel and engine allocations as the ‘Open’ teams – at least until results prompt a reduction in both. Dall’Igna said that the contentious switch has paid dividends. “The choices that we have made will allow us to move forward and improve,” said Dall’Igna. “We are satisfied with the lap times in the last tests, but also the consistency of the times, which are backed up by the riders’ comments. “Ducati has significantly reduced the gap to its rivals and we are confident we can make further steps forward during the season.” Dovizioso sais that he was happy with the gains so far but was not getting carried away. “I am very happy with the way the pre-season tests went because we managed to improve more than expected, and this gives me a lot of confidence,” he said. “We still have a few doubts about our effective race pace [but] in any case we have reduced the gap from last year and today we are much more competitive. “We still have to improve to arrive at the positions where we want to be, but I think that in the first race we will manage to start close to the front.” – PHIL BRANAGAN 13 GPWEEK.com // 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: