JEREZ, Spain – The Ducati Team’s scheduled three-day off-season test at the Spanish Circuito de Jerez circuit certainly wasn’t without its hurdles.
Sunny-but-cold conditions marked the first two days, allowing Nicky Hayden to complete a full testing program on Wednesday and to post competitive lap times on Thursday, though a small crash robbed him of riding time when the track was at its best. On Friday, rain and wind made gathering much meaningful data impossible, though Hayden did a brief comparison between hard and soft rain tires.
“Things didn’t go as smoothly as we had hoped, but the test has been useful despite everything,” said Hayden. “On the first day, we struggled a little bit getting up to speed, but we improved somewhat yesterday. We were able to evaluate the new frame and swingarm, as well as a few new settings. Today, though, the weather hasn’t been kind to us. I did three exits in the wet, but it hasn’t been dry enough for slicks. It would have been nice to ride in the dry today, as we wanted to confirm a few things and improve our pace, but nonetheless, we got through some things and have a lot of information to work with. Thanks to the guys for all the hard work this year. Now we’ll look forward to February at Sepang.”
Unfortunately, new Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso managed to turn just three laps on day one before he was forced to the garage with a strained neck that kept him off the bike for the remainder of the test.
“It’s a shame about the problem with my neck. It’s something I had experienced at the GP in Malaysia, where I crashed twice, and in Australia, where I crashed once, and both times I had physiotherapy treatments and anti-inflammatory medicine,” said Dovizioso. “It re-emerged last week two days after a crash on my motocross bike, but the same treatment worked and I felt fine when I came to Jerez for the test. Unfortunately, it happened again after just a few laps, and this time we weren’t able to resolve it with physio and anti-inflammatories. It seems that the problem is probably bigger than we had previously thought, and I’ll have to undergo some further medical tests.”
The Ducati Team now begins an obligatory two-month break from testing, after which they will return to action at Malaysia’s Sepang Int’l Circuit, where MotoGP’s first test of 2013 will take place Feb. 5-7.