After Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi complained incessantly about Ducati’s long-standing understeer issue, it was only a matter of time before new recruit Andrea Dovizioso got a clear understanding of the Desmosedici’s Achilles heel.
Understeer was the single biggest issue that restricted Rossi to just three podiums in 35 races and a cure has eluded Ducati from the Stoner era when the Aussie frequently curse the Desmosedici’s lack of turning.
Dovizioso has steered clear of talking too much about the understeer issue until today during the first day of the second MotoGP test session at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
The Italian spent two laps on the tail of Repsol Honda rival Dani Pedrosa and when asked by MCN what he had learned assessing the RC213V at close quarters, he said: “The main problem is the turning. In the braking and on the exit we are not the best but we don’t lose too much. Mainly it is the turning and we have to understand which part of the bike is important for turning.”
Comparing the turning performance of the Ducati compared to the sweet handling Yamaha YZR-M1 he rode to six podium finishes in 2012, Dovizioso added: “It means when you go into the corner the bike doesn’t want to turn. It just wants to go straight, so when you have to turn you pull and put the bike and tyre over the limit and then you lose the front.”
Dovizioso finished a rain-hit opening day in Sepang in eighth position, a best time of 2.02.801 leaving him 1.221s behind Pedrosa, who has been fastest on all four days in 2013 winter testing so far.
A weight distribution revision from a different fuel tank used in the first Sepang test saw a small gain in braking performance and Dovizioso added: “The bike on braking was a little bit better and the entry too. It is only small things but it can help in every corner and at the end it makes a different lap time.”
For extensive coverage of the second Sepang test in Malaysia, see the March 6 issue of MCN.