They may have been hogging the headlines following the confirmation that they have signed Jorge Lorenzo for 2017, but Ducati had nothing to write home about at Jerez.
Unable to extract the most from the Michelins after finishing seventh and top Ducati, Andrea Iannone admitted that it was much more a case of damage limitation at the slippery track.
“When you have less grip, it makes everything difficult. We use the rear tyre of the bike a lot, to turn in the corners, and with no grip it was difficult to do that. We tried to improve it, and to change our style a little, but hopefully we don’t have the issue at Le Mans!”
And while it was a bad weekend for Iannone, it was even worse for teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Once again struck with bad luck, a split water pump spraying fluid onto his rear wheel almost caused him to crash a number of times making it three consecutive races without a finish after he was previously skittled by Iannone and Pedrosa.
To make matters worse, the pressure on Dovi and Iannone over who will stay at Ducati and partner Lorenzo in 2017 continues to intensify. Ducati boss Davide Tardozzi claimed they would pick the rider most suited to working with Lorenzo, a statement that left Iannone quick to highlight the similarities in his riding style to that of the reigning world champion.
But as speculation continues, there has now been another name thrown into the mix for the seat, the currently injured Danilo Petrucci, riding the top satellite Pramac Ducati this year. In line with Ducati’s desire to win at any costs with Lorenzo, Petrucci could be drafted into the squad to act as a second rider for support and development.