Rid­ers: An­drea Dovizioso & An­drea Ian­none

Motorcycle News (UK) - - 2016 Motorgp Silverstone Preview -

It’s been so close and yet so far for Du­cati over the past cou­ple of years. Ever since Gigi Dall’igna took over at the end of 2013, the Ital­ians have closed the gap on Honda and Yamaha. Now the gap is tiny but it’s still a gap. In­vari­ably Ian­none and Du­cati are at the sharp end on lap times, but in some ways the gap seems to have grown this year, due to the change of tyres. Last year Du­cati scored podium fin­ishes at al­most half the races be­cause Dall’igna has ex­or­cised the bike’s no­to­ri­ous turn­ing prob­lems. This year that prob­lem has re­turned, pos­si­bly be­cause the Du­cati hasn’t adapted so well to Miche­lin’s front slick. “I don’t have a good feel­ing with the front,” says Dovizioso. “It’s dif­fi­cult to turn the bike, not be­cause of the bike but be­cause the front grip isn’t good.” Du­cati are hav­ing a bet­ter time in other ar­eas and have adapted well to the same-for-all­for- soft­ware. How­ever, Dall’igna de­nies Du­cati have an elec­tron­ics ad­van­tage over their ri­vals thanks to their long-run­ning re­la­tion­ship with Mag­neti Marelli. “The soft­ware we used last year and this year are com­pletely dif­fer­ent,” he says. “For sure the uni­fied soft­ware isn’t as so­phis­ti­cated – it’s like what we used five or six years ago – but be­cause it’s more sim­ple it’s ac­tu­ally more dif­fi­cult to find a proper set-up. The only rea­son we are do­ing well is be­cause last year we worked a lot with the Open soft­ware on our Open bikes.”

Although the V4 Duke is the most pow­er­ful bike on the grid – with over 260 horse­power – Du­cati have fewer prob­lems with the wheel­ies than other bikes be­cause their winglets in­crease down­force. “The wings help a lot – it is com­pletely crazy that they will be banned at the end of this year,” says Dall’igna.

Front end grip is­sues have turned Du­cati team-mates Ian­none and Dovizioso into bowl­ing bud­dies

New Miche­lins have kept Du­cati pit crew busy

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