It’s hard to believe that the best that Audi and Ducati can do between them is to keep on scrabbling with their fingernails, managing only narrowly to stop themselves sliding further away backwards into the clutches of the CRT bikes.
New ownership, new management, new staff members, new working practices, new money and a combination of old and new riders can surely do better than this. Especially with a series of evolutionary developments tested on the so-called lab bike by full-time tester Michele Pirro.
By and large (though not every time) Ducati lap times are better than last year. The problem is simple: so too are the lap times of the rivals. And the riders’ dirge is the same as that which darkened the Doctor’s Ducati doldrums: “Understeer, poor corner entry, wanders off line, rear suspension pumps, good power wasted on a bad chassis, hope it rains tomorrow.”
It’s still hard to believe there is not something better coming, and apparently Cal Crutchlow shares that conviction.
Or is he just a victim of circumstance, talent and age, at a time when there are more factory-class bottoms than there are factory saddles to put them on?