Yamaha riders weigh in on Ducati

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At Le Mans the top speed of the Ducati saw Andrea Iannone blast past Marc Marquez at will on the pit straight during their late race battle and with the fastest top speeds of the year reached at Mugello the Ducati should be the weapon of choice in the fight for top speed honours.

In practice Hector Barbera was clocked at 350.1 kmp/h and it will be a major challenge to stay in touch with any of the Ducati’s during the race. While that isn’t the fastest top speed ever recorded in MotoGP, that honour went to Marc Marquez in Qatar, the record could easily fall today when Ducati use a new engine in their factory bikes for the first time.

Asking around the paddock on the challenge of fighting with the Ducati’s it was clear that their rivals know the height of the challenge facing them to fight in the race.

“Obviously when you see the Ducatis so strong in the rest of the tracks then in Mugello it’s normal that they’re even better,” said Jorge Lorenzo. “They say in the test they make 46.9s so everyone expected this today. Obviously Andrea put a new tyre at the end of the practice so it has been a little bit of an advantage for him. We keep using the same tyre all the practice. They are strong and they have a powerful engine so on this long straight it’s a big thing compared to our bike.”

The Tech3 riders were both in agreement with Bradley Smith saying that “I’ve never been able to stay in a Ducati slipstream.”

“The only Ducati slipstream I’ve been able to stay in was Argentina down the back straight with Yonny Hernandez. That’s about the only one.  Obviously I had front row seats behind Iannone, and there’s not a hope that I’d even stay close. Neither did the Honda, which makes it even less for me.”

Pol Espargaro said that the Yamaha couldn’t stay with the Honda riders on the straight and that even the Open Ducati’s were out of reach for him. When asked if he could stay in the slipstream Espargaro said:

“No way, even with the Hondas! I went behind Márquez today, and you can be there. He is getting away a little bit, but you can be there. You don’t take, you don’t lose. But Ducatis, even not the official riders, Hernandez, Petrucci, it’s impossible. Impossible! Impossible to follow them. Even Barbera. He was the fastest! They are so strong on the straight.

“It’s normal that the semi-official bikes are fat when they have a used tire, because they have so much power, and I think some riders don’t know how to use this power, and they open the throttle so early, same as with the fresh tire, but when you have just ten laps on the tire, you are out, you can’t ride like this. You can’t take profit of this power. But the official bikes, they are able to do it.”

Steve English

By Steve English