Ducati Off to a Slow Start at Sepang I MotoGP Test

Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden

2013 Ducati MotoGP

Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso today wrapped up a three-day preseason MotoGP test at Sepang International Raceway in Malaysia.

Although the team improved the GP13’s times as the test progressed, Hayden and Dovi finished over two seconds slower than the top riders – Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedorsa and Marc Marquez, and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, who struggled with Ducati during the 2011-2012 MotoGP seasons.

Hayden attempted to find his rhythm throughout the Sepang I test, hoping to provide much feedback to the Ducati Team ahead of the next Sepang and Jerez testing sessions. Hayden, beginning his fifth year with Ducati, finished ninth overall, 2:02.184 behind the leader Pedrosa.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP13 MotoGP) says: “We obviously can’t be happy when our times are that far off of the top guys, but we knew it was going to be tough. Sepang has never been a particularly good track for Ducati: we raced here in October, and the bike hasn’t changed much since then.

“We found a couple little things over the course of the test, which allowed us to improve our consistency on day three, but I think we need something big. Anyway, it was nice to be back on the bike and working with the guys. The team has worked extremely hard, and we just have to stay motivated and keep giving them the right information so that we can hopefully start making some real progress soon.”

The newest member of the Ducati Team, the Italian Dovizioso, spent the three days adapting to the GP13 Desmosedici. And due to his experience aboard other factory motorcycles, he was able to provide much feedback on the GP13’s frame, electronics and engine characteristics. Dovi finished the 10th overall, 2.177 seconds behind Pedrosa.

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team GP13 MotoGP) says: “Yes, it was a difficult test but we didn’t expect it to be any different. We’re here to improve the situation and everybody knows the level we are now so we have to improve. We tested as much stuff as we could, because we’re focused on improving the bike.

“The gap to the others is big, and we pushed a lot to understand the bike. I gave a lot of feedback, maybe too much! We don’t know how the next test in Sepang will be. There’s too short a time between now and then, so it’s difficult to do something big in this time. We still have to decide which parts we can bring to the second test. Unfortunately, we need time to try something big.”

The team will now work on getting the GP13 better prepared for the next Sepang MotoGP testing session, which occurs Feb. 26-28.

Paolo Ciabatti (Ducati MotoGP Project Director) says: “Obviously, we’re not satisfied. We knew we were starting from a base that needed significant development work, but it’s not nice to realize we’re still so far from the leaders. Still, our engineers gathered important data, and now the only thing to do is to roll up our sleeves and continue the development program in the factory. The goal is clear: bring Ducati back to the top of the results sheet as soon as possible.”

Ducati reports that following the Sepang test, the NAZA Group, Ducati’s exclusive importer in Malaysia, unveiled the new Monster 795 ABS in the Ducati Team box, with the help of Nicky Hayden, Andrea Dovizioso and the Ducati Team management.

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