Ducati teams struggle at Jerez

The best a Ducati rider could finish at Jerez was seventh, with all riders bar Eugene Laverty complaining of tyre issues.

Ducati teams struggle at Jerez
Most Ducati teams struggled at Jerez

The MotoGP field is made up mainly of Ducatis which includes eight (four teams of two) out of the 21 participants of the elite class. It was a mix bag of results for the Italian manufacturer (who have been surrounded by media attention as 2015 MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo has just signed a two year contract to join them) at the Circuito de Jerez where the best result came from factory Ducati rider Andre Iannone.

Iannone claimed the best Ducati result in seventh

Iannone finished in seventh behind the other factory teams including Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki (a bike that is in only its second season since returning to the championship). Speaking after the race the Italian rider said he “didn’t expect such a difficult weekend.” He only managed to qualify in 11th on the grid which he said “penalised” him; his highest place previous to the race at Jerez was ninth.

Iannone made a poor start and felt in the early stages of the race the Desmosedici GP bike “was not at its best.” He was able to improve his pace though and progress through the field In the later stages. He said, “A seventh place is for sure not our target, but we took home some important points for the championship.

Iannone in action during Jerez | Photo: AFP
Iannone in action during Jerez | Photo: AFP

Iannone has collected too DNFs so far this season after crashing out in Qatar, and Argentina where he also took out his teammate Andrea Dovizioso on the last lap. He has only collected 25 points so far this season despite being set for some podium places in previous rounds and is 57 behind leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda).

Another DNF for Dovizioso as bad luck continues

Unfortunately for Dovizioso, his bad luck followed him to Jerez. The Italian claimed second place in the first round at Qatar, since then he has failed to collect many more championship points. He missed out on a podium in Argentina when Iannone crashed into him on the last corner of the race; he salvaged three points finishing in 13th by pushing his bike over the line.

At the Circuit of the Americas in Austin it was very apologetic Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa who crashed into him in a similar incident to that, with his teammate and he was unable to finish. Jerez, a chance to start again, and the Italian was forced to retire with 18 laps remaining due to an issue with the rear of his bike; Eugene Laverty raised his hand on track to confirm to the Italian that there was an issue.

Another close call for Dovizioso

Dovizioso spoke of how failing to collect any points in the fourth round was “the last thing he needed.” The issue during the race turned out to be the water pump, he said “Some water came out and finished on the rear wheel,” this meant that he “almost crashed three times” so he felt the best thing was to retire.

Trying to remain positive about his disappointing season, where his future with the team could be in doubt due to the factory team needed to make room for Lorenzo, Dovizioso said, “We are working well, my feeling with the bike is good and this is the most important thing for me.” At Jerez he felt, “we never managed to be as competitive as in the first three GPs.”

Remaining hopeful over his future he said: “On a personal level it’s important for me to be sure that I haven’t made any errors in the last three races and this gives me the confidence to try and be competitive again immediately, starting from Le Mans.” He is 11th in the championship due to his second place finish in Qatar.

Laverty had another fantastic performance

Out of the independent Ducati teams it was Irishman Eugene Laverty who was the fastest in Jerez after finishing in ninth position (second fastest independent rider). He received a new clutch just before practice and claimed “The bike was fantastic and this is a great result for us.

Barbera struggled with the Ducati during a difficult race

Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) also claimed the fourth round at Jerez to be “very difficult race” despite him describing the weekend as “almost perfect”; he finished in tenth which he felt was “a little disappointing.” He felt that the increase in temperature on race day meant he “struggled with the traction control” and said that it was “cutting too much power.

Barbera said he “tried all of the mappings” he had available for the race but said that “none of them worked.” He felt he was “losing time on every corner exit” and that he was “not able to attack in the braking points.” The Spaniard said, “I was not comfortable riding the bike and I’ve been fighting the whole race.

A race to forget for Barbera | Photo: Mirco Lazzari
A race to forget for Barbera | Photo: Mirco Lazzari

Barbera knows that collecting points towards the championship and remaining in the top ten is the best he and his team could do in Jerez. He feels he should be finishing between fifth and tenth position but ahead of the next round in Le Mans, France, he said they have to “go one step back with the electronics” to try and resolve the change they made in Argentina that he feels does not work.

Baz was focused on finishing the race

Barbera’s teammate Loris Baz was the next placed Ducati in the race in 13th collecting three points; he is 19th in the championship having only collecting one other point so far at COTA and crashing out at the previous two rounds. He said, “It was important to finish the race but once again I was close to crashing on the first lap” blaming Scott Redding (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducati) for making contact with him. Following this incident he went wide after another mistake.

Baz said, “We chose the soft front tyre and the plan was to save it during the first part of the race,” following the incidents at the beginning of the race he said, “I was forced to recover and the tyre was really bad at the end,” because of this he said, “the last few laps were very difficult.

Head of his home GP the Frenchman said, “We learned a couple of things that will change for the next races… I want to use this experience to get a better result at Le Mans.

Similar issues for Hernandez who struggled to turn

Yonny Hernandez claimed the final point at Jerez after finishing in 15th position; another rider who described this round as “a very difficult race.” He felt that he “didn’t have the same pace that we have shown throughout the rest of the weekend.” The Colombian said he had “trouble getting the bike to turn” and also complained of a “lack of feeling from the front.

Hernandez who rides for the Aspar MotoGP team on the Ducati said, “We still don’t know what caused it” and that the team are “not where we want to be right now.” He said, “I put in a big effort to set a fast pace and we were competitive over the weekend but I couldn’t carry it through to the race.

Pirro feels all his hard work has been undone

The Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati riders claimed the worst results out of all of the Ducati riders in the MotoGP field. Michele Pirro is filling in for injured Danilo Petrucci and following his 16th place finish he said he is “really sad and sorry.

After great results at Argentina and Texas despite all of their efforts in tyres the Italian said, “We worked hard during tests with these tyres and nothing seems to work.” He described the round at Jerez as “very frustrating” as he has completed many tests (as the usual test rider for the team before stepping in for Petrucci) over the winter which he felt went well but now says, “all this work was erased with this race.

At the fourth round of the MotoGP he said he “had the feeling of not being able to do anything to improve”. He seems bemused following the race saying, “We tried so many things but it is as if everything has changed”. He comes away from a disappointing round saying “I think there is a lot to think about.

Disappointing result for Redding who struggled all weekend

His teammate, British rider Redding has looked so comfortable after making the switch to the Ducati until the Spanish race where he completed the race, but in last place. This was highly unusual for Redding who claimed, “Nothing worked today and throughout the weekend.

"Nothing worked today," Redding | Photo: AFP
"Nothing worked today," Redding | Photo: AFP

Also complaining of the Spanish temperatures Scott admitted, “It is not possible to ride in these conditions.” He also said that during the last few laps he “had to slow down to get to the finish line without running the risk of falling.” Like second place Movistar Yamaha rider Lorenzo spoke of, Redding claimed, “Even in the straight the spinning was impressive.

Previous issues with tyres for Redding

This is not the first time this season Redding has struggled with the Michelin tyres. In Argentina he risked a serious crash and sustained injuries after his rear tyre delaminated. His tyre was returned to France to undergo testing to evaluate the cause of the issue. It was announced that factors that affected the rear tyre to fail included Redding’s size as he is one of the tallest in the field, the increase in temperatures as the heat soared in Argentina during the practice, and the severity of the track layout.

Redding said, “You can always learn something from the bad days but it’s really hard to figure out what we should have done to improve this weekend.” Complaining about the Michelin tyres like many other riders he said, “We spent three days trying to find grip and we never succeeded, and I do not think it was only our fault!

With all these tyre issues, how did Rossi do it?

There are mixed emotions following the fourth round of the MotoGP. Valentino Rossi won after what seemed to be a faultless ride; he was able to win with a short lead he had extended ahead of a field of riders who appeared to be struggling with the Michelin tyres. Out of all of the Ducati riders, only Eugene Laverty seemed as comfortable as the race winner with the performance from them.

Rossi claims the tyre issue is with Ducati

Rossi has already said in a press conference that he feels that any issue with the Michelins only appear to be with Ducati and that they should work towards resolving this, however other riders appear to have struggled also. Riders were able to complete a day of testing at Jerez after the race where hopefully they are able to overcome the issues with the tyres and see if any alterations can be made to their machines to ensure they get the best results from the Michelins in the future.