The Althea Ducati team wrapped up a three-day World Superbike test at Motorland Aragon Wednesday, riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano getting some seat time on the 1199 Panigale that will be used in the 2013 season.
Joining the Althea Ducati were Suzuki, Aprilia and Kawasaki as the teams tested the new 17-inch spec Pirelli tires that will be used in 2013 World SBK (up from 16.5-inch setup).
When the test began on Monday, the conditions were cool and windy. Checa, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Monday, put in some impressive laps (1:59), finishing fourth overall. Giugliano, meanwhile, experimented with a new fork aboard the 1199, and finished 10th overall.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, conditions were better, allowing Checa and Giugliano further testing aboard the Ducati motorcycles. Besides new Pirelli tires, the team tested suspension components, settings and forks. Giugliano suffered a small crash on Tuesday, but was able to return to testing almost immediately. Although the riders didn't lead the test sessions, they were able to knock a half-second off their Monday times.
Althea Ducati reports that by making a series of changes throughout the three days the team was able to better understand how the bike reacts and identify the best direction to take as a result. At this point of development it is essential that the riders begin to understand the bike and that the bike is adapted to the needs and style of each rider.
Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale Superbike) says: "My impression is positive. We're still a little way off in terms of times but we are here to work on the bike and try things out to better understand what is missing and what we need to go faster. This is all a normal part of development work.
"The 1199 Panigale is an extreme bike and the riding style needed is different too. We are at the start of the journey; we're still in the first phase and still have a lot of work ahead of us. The 17" tires are working well once the track is up to temperature and conditions have allowed us to get a lot of laps in during yesterday and today - the data collected will be useful as we move forward."
Davide Giugliano (Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale) says: "We have tried many things over these last days and I am working hard to find my way with the new bike. The Aragon track is very different to Misano where we carried out the last tests and I've had a bit of trouble going from one to the other because of those differences. I would say that we can be satisfied with what we've got done here and we have a good base from which to progress."