Dovizioso leading the way for Ducati as Open decision looms

Dovizioso leading the way for Ducati as Open decision looms
Thursday, 27 February 2014

Andrea Dovizioso was again the fastest Ducati rider on track on Thursday in Malaysia, with a decision on ‘Open’ or ‘MSMA’ participation still pending for the Italian factory.

Dovizioso was fifth on the timesheet, +0.748s off pace man Dani Pedrosa’s best time, whilst Cal Crutchlow made a significant jump forward right at the end of the session to end up seventh, less than 0.2s behind his teammate.

Once again solid support was provided by Ducati’s official test-rider Michele Pirro to the development programme on the Test Team’s Desmosedici GP14, with crucial track time racked up using the Magneti Marelli software - as a decision on 'Open' or ‘MSMA’ entry looms.

Dovizioso began the second day well, immediately recording – on his eighth lap of the morning – a best time of 2’00.787s, a result that took him up to third in the provisional standings. In the afternoon he was not able to improve his time, but in any case he was satisfied with a fifth place overall in the combined two-day standings.

“Today was again positive, the track is not as quick as the Sepang 1 tests so the times are a reference only to a certain point,” Dovizioso commented. “But it’s always important to make comparisons with the others. We can say that we closed the gap to the front-runners and I am very pleased with the improvement over these two days. We’re refining the set-up of the bike, at this moment there isn’t much new material to try but we’ve managed to find something interesting.”

The Italian rider added, “I really didn’t expect that and it’s a positive thing to experience this sensation. Today we also tried out the ECU with the Open software, there are a few different controls with it and it obviously doesn’t work as well as our Factory software, but tomorrow we’ll do some more tests.”

Dovizioso’s positive feeling with the improving Desmosedici GP14 and his comments on the strength of the Factory’s software hint that Ducati’s 'Open' or ‘MSMA’ decision may yet still to be finalised internally.

For his part a typically comical Crutchlow added, “Open what? Open a door? If there is a decision… I think the deadline is tomorrow so hopefully they will make a decision. I know nothing about it and I haven’t tested an ‘Open’ bike at all. I’ve been focusing on our current bike and that’s enough, without worrying about anything else at the minute.”

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