Valentino Rossi: Ducati threat depends on new bike

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Valentino Rossi says Ducati’s potential to upset Honda and Yamaha’s domination of the MotoGP world championship can only be judged when the eagerly awaited Desmosedici GP15 is rolled out.

Ducati enjoyed a positive start to 2015 in Malaysia earlier this month when Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone set fast and competitive lap times during the opening test in Sepang.

Iannone was third quickest and one place ahead of fellow Italian Rossi, with Ducati rolling out an evolution GP14.3 in advance of the GP15 making its first public appearance on track at the second Sepang test on February 23.

The GP15 is the first Ducati to be totally designed by former Aprilia technical guru Gigi Dall’Igna and is the bike the Bologna factory is banking on ending its premier class-winning drought that stretches back to 2010.

Factory Yamaha rider Rossi, who is confident he can challenge for a 10th world title in 2015, says he is expecting Ducati to be more competitive again this year.

And he said if the GP15 is another step forward in performance that Dovizioso and Iannone could challenge for victories when the new season kicks off under the Losail International Circuit floodlights in Qatar on March 29.

The Italian said: “I think they are quite good and it depends with the new bike if they are able to make a step. If the new bike is good then they can fight with us. They are fast and also they have the advantage of the extra soft tyre and maybe that was good when the Ducati was slow, but now I don't understand exactly why.”

To see Valentino's Ducati alongside eight other of his record breaking machines, check out the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle News.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt