All eyes were on Ducati this weekend and not only thanks to the arrival of new boys Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia.
The Lenovo red Desmosedici was spotted wearing new additions to its front fairing as the Qatar test got fully underway on Saturday, with both Miller and Bagnaia getting to try the new goodies once test rider Michele Pirro had given it the all clear during the shakedown.
Described by Simon Crafar as ‘like a soccer ball cut in half’, the scoops, fitted to the base of the fairing, house interior vents, directing air downwards and towards the lower section. Speculation into its uses include assisting with grip levels, cornering and change of direction, but the new factory pair were keeping tight-lipped.
“It’s a little too early to say anything about the aero, because the conditions weren’t the most ideal to test,” commented Miller at the close of proceedings. “We had 30km winds so it’s hard to say much about the aero. There weren’t any noticeable negatives though but we need to make sure it’s what we’re looking for.”
Seemingly pleased with the initial experience, Bagnaia confirmed “I liked it. I just tried the different fairing - but I broke during the crash! It has positives and negatives. There are more positives, and I think that it will be useful at tracks like these.”
“It was a positive first day of testing,” the Australian continued. “I haven’t ridden the Desmosedici in a long time, but as soon as I’d spun a few laps I started to feel really comfortable. We were able to get through a few of the test items and in the end I did a decent run, like nine laps, on used tyres and, yeah, the pace was pretty good. I was pretty happy with that. All-in-all a solid first day. The weather wasn’t ideal, that wind was less than good but happy to be on the bike nonetheless.
“Today’s goals were to find back the feeling with the bike and to adapt to my new team. The strong wind made it difficult to try a time attack, but I tested the new fairing and am happy with it. Now we just have to continue working in this direction also in the coming days”.
On the other side of the garage, his Italian teammate was slightly less upbeat, however.
“It was a tough first day, mainly dedicated to finding the feeling with the bike after the long winter break. Today’s conditions weren’t perfect due to the strong wind, but despite a small crash at Turn 2 towards the end of the day, we managed to get some interesting runs in. I did a few laps with the new fairing, and the feeling was positive.
“Tomorrow we start to have some different things on the bike, some set-up differences to understand which one is better but in this moment I’m happy with the work we’ve done. It’s just the first day and I’m just enjoying everything, riding again this beast, that is incredible!”