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Down in Pitlane: "It may be different to last year"

Simon Crafar was keeping the leading team personnel on their toes as got the news from Pitlane in FP1 and FP2...

Pitlane is always a hive of activity but that often means there’s plenty of people around to answer important questions. Simon Crafar braved the Pitlane once more in Thailand and spoke to leading figures across all of the MotoGP™ teams.

Starting with Davide Tardozzi, the Ducati Team manager expressed his thoughts on Andrea Dovizioso’s Aragon and what could happen this weekend: “Dovi did a fantastic race because he was struggling all weekend in Free Practice and did a good race when we found a good set-up and the right choice rear tyre. We have been very happy with his mental attitude. I think this circuit suits some good things of our bike, but it depends on the weather and the grip of the tyre. It may be different to last year, so we will see.”

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Tardozzi also said that the focus was now turning to Danilo Petrucci: “Our focus now is on Danilo Petrucci, as we need to have him back like the beginning of the year, and last winter. In this moment, it is a mental problem and over the next 24 rounds, we need to have him back and strong.”

Not ruling out Australia’s Jack Miller as a possible candidate for the future in the Ducati Team, Tardozzi stated: “We hope that Jack makes another step as in the future, he is one of the candidates for the factory team.”

Staying with the Ducati theme, Pramac Racing team manager Francesco Guidotti was next up, speaking about Jack Miller’s MotorLand Aragon race, saying: “Yes, it was a fantastic weekend, he had been strong all the weekend since the Friday morning. It is a well-deserved podium and one of the best races he has had this Year. He was calm from the first lap and had the right choice to attack in the last laps. I hope here will be something like that again; in Aragon we didn’t have time to celebrate as Jack left very early after the race, but we are confident to do a very good job also here.

Discussing all things Francesco Bagnaia, Guidotti said: “We had a very long technical meeting in Ducati with him, highlighting where he has to improve. I think now he is ready to ‘start again’ let’s say.”

Quartararo convinced of good Yamaha performance in Thailand

More news crept out of Yamaha too, with Massimo Meregalli reviewing a difficult MotorLand Aragon: “For sure is also a question of confidence but we always try to work on preparing for a fast lap. Usually, we are looking for more front feeling and that was the area where we spent a lot of the focus, to start all the practices in race configuration. It is the normal procedure that now we have.”

He continued, saying about the forthcoming Buriram race: “Last year, we made a step here, in terms of electronics and weight distribution. In the end, it is not always about horsepower, we have a good driveability which helps a lot. With Yamahas doing well, it looks like I am not wrong.”

Then, the team director commented on Rossi’s change of crew chief for 2020: “As has been already said, it has been a common decision to bring some new ideas and to bring a lot of experience in the testing team. The European testing team is getting more and more important for our future and for us, it has been like a re-organisation. We need to improve in both areas.”

Rossi looking to mount 2020 campaign with new team structure

It was a busy afternoon in Pitlane too, as Simon got the latest from Alberto Puig, regarding Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and his scary accident from the morning session: “Fortunately, there were no injuries. It was a massive crash as you could see on the TV and we went to the hospital to check everything. Everything looked ok, he has a big contusion in the back and in the leg, many things. But nothing serious. Of course, he is in pain. There is nothing to be really worried about. We keep going with the plan that we had. 


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“The tyre was on temperature, it was not a cold tyre. Initially you can expect; it was too fast with a cold tyre. Probably he was on the dusty area, not in a clean line and provably the tyre got some dust or something. This could be the reason of the crash. I think it could be that the tyre was not really clean. Because he did the back straight on the dusty area, he was not in the correct line. This could be a reason. The important thing is that is that he could ride the bike and he didn’t injure himself.”

Mike Leitner then gave an assessment on Pol Espargaro’s (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) injury: “We are quite happy with the feeling, he has pain of course. During the session the pain didn’t increase. He can ride the bike in a safe way.”

Finally, it was a catch up with Aprilia’s technical chief Romano Albesiano, who firstly, reviewed Aragon: “It was a very nice weekend. On that track we always have good feedbacks, honestly, it’s not obvious to find the reason for this special performance there. The track has fast corners, slow corners, a long straight so it’s quite a complete one. Probably, it lacks grip which helps and has a very hard braking from high speed to low speed. This is probably the most critical point for us which is quite typical of this track.”

Looking ahead to this round, Albesiano stated: “We don’t expect this track to be super competitive, but it’s a good opportunity for us to work on our weak points, so it’s even more interesting for us from the technical point of view.”

MotoGP™ FP1 at the Thailand GP: Round 14 is GO!

Conclusively, Albesiano summed up Andrea Iannone’s performances: “If you look in his is eyes, you can see he is more and more confident. From next year, he will be more competitive.”