Ducati Preview : Test Catalunya 2006
Ducati press release
Wednesday Mar 1 2006
Preview - IRTA Test Catalunya
BIG TEAMS GATHER IN SPAIN FOR MOTOGP HORS D'OEUVRE
The Catalunya Official MotoGP test session of March 3/4/5 is the first official engagement of the 2006 MotoGP World Championship, designed as a tantalising hors d'oeuvre to what is arguably the most keenly awaited season in bike racing history.
The event unites all the 2006 MotoGP teams for the first time in Europe and will offer a fascinating insight into which riders will be racing up front at the season-opening Spanish GP on March 26.
Like most other MotoGP outfits, the Ducati Marlboro Team has been busy in recent weeks attending private tests in Malaysia and Australia where Loris Capirossi and new-signing Sete Gibernau have topped the times on several occasions. Their impressive pace takes them to Catalunya in optimistic mood.
The Desmosedici GP6 is an evolution of last year's superb GP5 which won two MotoGP races. The bike has undergone a multitude of detail upgrades to improve all-round performance. The engine produces more power in a more controlled manner and uses less fuel, thanks to painstaking work on engine management and internal friction. The bike is also lighter and stiffer, following refinements to the frame, wheel rims and front forks, and also benefits from the impressive progress made by Bridgestone tyres. All in all, the GP6 is a more rider-friendly package, designed to give Capirossi and Gibernau competitive performance throughout the 17-race World Championship.
Livio Suppo (Ducati MotoGP project leader):
"Catalunya is a big weekend for everyone, with an atmosphere similar to a real race! After many tests in faraway countries it's nice to be back in Europe. And it's great that most of our tests have gone well for us, apart from our last visit to Sepang which was spoiled by rain and Sete's sickness.
I'm very happy with the atmosphere within the team. Loris and Sete know each other well and are working together very effectively, which is so important at this stage of the season. The same goes for our people at the factory and also at Bridgestone - everyone is showing their usual commitment to development. In particular I would like to thank one of our most important technical partners, Shell Advance. We recently signed a three-year renewal of our partnership, because their knowledge and support is one of the key points in our success."
"I'm really looking forward to the Catalunya tests because it's the first official appointment of 2006 and it opens a new and exciting season. We are happy with the work we've done during our winter tests, every session has been very positive and profitable, except maybe for our most recent Sepang test which was affected by rain.
"The new GP6 is already as competitive as the GP5 was last year. I'm really pleased about this because we can only improve from what is already a good base. Catalunya will be very important because it will help us to understand the full extent of progress made by Bridgestone. I've got great confidence in Bridgestone and in the team and I'm ready to work hard, to close my visor and open the throttle!"
"The team and I are working really well together, it's a real pleasure to work with people who show such passion and commitment.
"We have been chipping away at a few things, several aspects of the bike that we need to understand better. At the moment the whole ball game is making the bike more predictable and consistent, so we can have a machine that gives consistent performance at every track and throughout the whole race. I want to instil this mentality, so that Ducati can have a bike that can fight for podium at every race, not just in some races. In this respect Catalunya is going to be very important for us, just like every test session."