Sepang Test and the GP19: high expectations

All eyes will be on the new Desmosedicis in Malaysia as Ducati continue their preparations for a 2019 title attack

After two consecutive runners-up medals for Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) in 2017 and 2018, 2019 is all about one thing: bringing the MotoGP™ World Championship back to the Bologna factory. 

It’s been 11 years since Casey Stoner took his and Ducati’s maiden MotoGP™ title in 2007, and now it’s the turn of Dovizioso and new teammate Danilo Petrucci to try and do an Italian job on the Championship, by bringing the title back to Borgo Panigale.  

It was a strong start for both riders at the Valencia Test on first versions of the GP19, with ‘DesmoDovi’ setting the second fastest time and ‘Petrux’ rounding out the top five. Then, in Jerez, Petrucci impressed by setting the second quickest time of the test, with teammate Dovizioso 0.240 off top spot in seventh.

But there is, of course, still work to do. Speaking at the Mission Winnow Ducati Team launch, Ducati Corse General Manager Luigi Dall’Inga said: “In Sepang, we would like to test something different than we did in Jerez. On the engine point of view, we would like to improve the performance, and the Sepang Test will be the deadline where we have to take some decisions regarding the engine.”

So, even in the department where Ducati have a superior reputation – the engine – improvements are being made, as well as in all the other areas where the Desmosedici hasn’t been so strong in the past, such as in the middle of the corner. Suffice to say, the three days in Sepang will be vital for Ducati as they continue to mould the GP19 into an even more formidable force.

You can keep up with how Mission Winnow Ducati fair across the three days in Malaysia on, as we bring you reports, interviews, highlights and an After the Flag episode after each day. 

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