Riders: Andrea Dovizioso & Andrea Iannone
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