Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies believe it is impossible to judge whether Valentino Rossi’s recent second place finish in Misano means Ducati has taken a major step forward with its struggling Desmosedici.
Dovizioso and Spies are just over a month away from getting their first chance to test for Ducati in Valencia, with both staking their reputations on being able to tame the finicky Desmosedici.
A new chassis helped Rossi secure second place in his home race in Misano, which was his best dry race result for the Bologna factory.
But the 33-year-old had a big advantage of completing a successful two-day test at his home track prior to the race.
That extra track time proved priceless after rain badly disrupted the Misano schedule and Italian Dovizioso said he would wait to assess Ducati’s recent progress after this weekend’s Japanese round at the Twin Ring Motegi and then the forthcoming Sepang clash in Malaysia.
He told MCN: “I am convinced the test before Misano made a big difference to the result of Valentino. He made a really good race because he was consistent but everybody was a minimum one second slower than last year.
"I think if we had a normal weekend then minimum everybody is going on that lap time but nobody can know if Ducati and Valentino can go down to that lap time.
"There is a big question mark. It was nice to see him in front and competitive and I want to see in Japan and Malaysia to understand if they are closer.
"Valentino is really fast there and if they are fast there like in Misano it means they have made an improvement.”
Spies too erred on the side of caution and he told MCN: “He had a good race and finished second but everybody could have had a lot better race if we had more dry track time.
"We only had about an hour and 20 minutes before the race in the dry and he had about 100 laps the week before, so they definitely had a big advantage on us. The pace that he was able to continue through the race was not normal for his season, so that’s a positive.”