Photography by Gold & Goose
If you’re Cal Crutchlow, you were probably hoping for a lot more when you got off the new 2014 Ducati Desmosedici after the first day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. You were probably hoping for a night and day difference over the 2013 model, but that simply wasn’t the case.
“First and foremost, it was good to be able to get back onto a bike after two and a half months off,” Crutchlow said after finishing his first day of 2014 testing 14th fastest. “We rode the GP13 in the morning and the GP14 in the afternoon, and it’s clear we have some work to do because the bikes are not too dissimilar at all. Most of the changes are cosmetic, but the feeling of the bikes is similar. The GP14 enters the corner a bit better, which is what we were looking for. We only used two sets of tires all day so now it’s about building confidence to go faster with this bike. We also had a lot of electronics stuff to try so I never did too many runs in the afternoon. Ducati are definitely working hard and I’m excited about that.”
Crutchlow’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso fared better than his new teammate, ending the session 12th with a best of 2:02.497 – 2.2 seconds slower than Repsol Honda’s pacesetter Marc Marquez as he began his second season with the Italian team.
“Today was a bit of a strange day, the first day of testing in Malaysia should not be taken with too much importance because you have to find the right feeling again after months of inactivity,” Dovizioso said. “We had a different bike to test, but we were not able to do a lot of laps and test everything we had scheduled. Luckily we’ve got another couple of days here in Malaysia so it won’t be too much of a problem. It was the right decision to start with the 2013 bike to resume where we left off last season, then we immediately switched to the new bike to see the difference, but unfortunately I only managed 27 laps today. I feel sure that things will go a lot better tomorrow.”
Sepang is the first of three test scheduled for Sepang and Phillip Island in February and March and Ducati unveiled its GP14 yesterday – the new model differing cosmetically with revised aerodynamics at both the front and the rear.
The Ducati Test team was also out on track with Michele Pirro returning in his role of test rider. Pirro will also get the chance to race in at least four rounds of the World Championship.