Just ahead of the two-month MotoGP winter-test ban, the Ducati Team finished a three-day private test at Jerez in Spain.
Working closely with riders Nicky Hayden, the team was able to gather much information to further prep the 2013 Desmo for the upcoming MotoGP Championship. As for newly-signed Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, the Italian was only able to complete three laps throughout the three-day tests due to a strained neck.
The conditions were cold but Sunny Wednesday and Thursday, allowing Hayden to tweak bike setup, and experiment with a new chassis and swingarm. But rain and windy halted much of Friday’s session, though the American Hayden was able to briefly compare Bridgestone’s hard and soft rain tires.
The two-month testing ban goes into affect for December and January, but the Ducati Team will return to track for the first test of 2013 MotoGP at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, Feb. 5-7.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team MotoGP) says: “Things didn’t go as smoothly as we had hoped, but the test has been useful despite everything. On the first day, we struggled a little bit getting up to speed, but we improved somewhat yesterday. We were able to evaluate the new frame and swingarm, as well as a few new settings.
“Today, though, the weather hasn’t been kind to us. I did three exits in the wet, but it hasn’t been dry enough for slicks. It would have been nice to ride in the dry today, as we wanted to confirm a few things and improve our pace, but nonetheless, we got through some things and have a lot of information to work with. Thanks to the guys for all the hard work this year. Now we’ll look forward to February at Sepang.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team MotoGP) says: “It’s a shame about the problem with my neck. It’s something I had experienced at the GP in Malaysia, where I crashed twice, and in Australia, where I crashed once, and both times I had physiotherapy treatments and anti-inflammatory medicine.
“It re-emerged last week two days after a crash on my motocross bike, but the same treatment worked and I felt fine when I came to Jerez for the test. Unfortunately, it happened again after just a few laps, and this time we weren’t able to resolve it with physio and anti-inflammatories. It seems that the problem is probably bigger than we had previously thought, and I’ll have to undergo some further medical tests.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Ducati Team Manager) says: “Obviously, we would have preferred that things played out differently, but in such cases, you have to just make the best of the situation and gather as much good data as circumstances allow. We continued the testing program that we started at Valencia, looking for confirmation on the frame and swingarm that we tried in the latter part of the season.
“Unfortunately, Andrea’s fluke problem with his neck was a setback, but Nicky turned some good lap times despite the tires being at their limit in the cool conditions. Now we need to work at the factory over the winter in order to give our riders a competitive package at the first Sepang test in February.”