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Ducati reflect positively on their first European test with the D16 GP4

Ducati reflect positively on their first European test with the D16 GP4

Ducati reflect positively on their first European test with the D16 GP4

After extensive tests in Malaysia and Australia, Ducati returned to familiar shores last week to give their new version of the Desmosedici its first run out on European soil. The D16 GP4, which had its first shakedown in the torrid heat of the Sepang circuit followed by the cooler climate of Phillip Island, is radically different to the 2003 version which took the MotoGP World Championship by storm and, after experiencing some initial teething problems, both Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi were happy to make significant progress in a two-day session at Valencia.

Bayliss completed 70 laps on race tyres and stopped the clock at 1'33.56 on the first day despite changeable weather conditions and afternoon rain showers, knocking more than one second off the time he set in qualifying for the final race of last season on the same track. Improved weather on day two gave the Australian the chance to run up another 79 laps, covering a distance of more than 300km and again recording a best time of 1'33.5.

"On the first day we got through a lot of hard work. Despite the gusty wind, I put in a lot of laps" explained Bayliss. "We continued with front tyre development and now I've got a good feeling with both the 16.5" and the 17" tyres. On the second day I continued testing the front tyres and I can say we're at a good point. We still need to do a bit more work on improving the set-up, and then my Desmosedici will be perfect for the start of the championship."

Capirossi was half a second slower than his team-mate as he concentrated on suspension settings on the first day, but stepped up the pace on the second day to record a 1'33.4. "We are going well and our ideas are clear," said the Italian. "On the first day we did a lot of work on the suspension and I was quite happy with my set-up of my Desmosedici. I wasn't really thinking about my lap time, I prefer to focus on the development of the bike and prepare it for the championship.

"The second day was intense but extremely positive. I'm getting to know the Desmosedici GP4 and its handling much better now. We worked a lot on the suspension and chassis and now the bike is more stable, agile and it has improved under braking. We also focussed on improving power delivery, and we'll be doing some more work on that in the future."

Hear what else the Ducati Marlboro Team riders had to say about the development of the Desmosedici GP4 in our exclusive video interviews by clicking on the link at the right of this page or by entering the Bzone now.

MotoGP, 2004

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