Ducati "not ready" to fight for the MotoGP title

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Mar 14, 2017, 1:31 PM

Ducati technical chief Gigi Dall’Igna has admitted that the Italian manufacturer is “not ready” to fight for this year’s MotoGP title after the conclusion of pre-season testing.

Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team, Dall'Igna
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team

Having signed three-time champion Jorge Lorenzo from Yamaha, Ducati entered 2017 expecting to able to build on a 2016 campaign that yielded two race victories and fight for its first championship since 2007.

However, Lorenzo’s transition has proven trickier than first expected, and while teammate Andrea Dovizioso did top one day of testing in Qatar, it’s Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales who has ended all three pre-season tests fastest.

Speaking to Spanish TV network Movistar, Dall’Igna admitted that Ducati may be set to fall short of its target of beating rivals Honda and Yamaha, but praised his riders for what they achieved in testing.

“Our goal after signing Jorge is to fight for the world championship,” Dall’Igna said. “It’s clear that at the moment we are not ready to do it, but we do have solutions to reduce the problems we have.

“We are satisfied with Dovizioso’s development work this pre-season. I think that especially at Sepang and here at Qatar the first day he gave us precious feedback to develop the bike.

“In the case of Jorge, there is still a lot of work to do, but I’m happy with what we have done together.”

Lorenzo difficulties “normal”

Dall’Igna previously worked with Lorenzo during his 125cc and 250cc days at Derbi and Aprilia, and was a key factor in convincing the Spaniard to jump ship to Ducati last season.

The Italian engineer defended Lorenzo’s performances during the winter, highlighting the challenging nature of having to switch manufacturers after nine successive seasons at Yamaha.

“Lorenzo is doing a difficult job,” continued Dall’Igna. “Changing bikes is always complicated, especially if you have always been with the same people. It’s normal that we have encountered some difficulties.

“I’ve known Jorge since he was a child and it’s clear that he has matured. He knows what he wants and what he can get, but his character at heart is the same – and I am glad it has remained like it was then.”

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