As the season comes to a close, the championship is almost decided, and there is just one more round to go, but the question still stands… who is going to get the Desmosedici GP17?
Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati teammates Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding both have the potential to pilot the new machinery next season when the team upgrade all of their bikes. Where one will receive the new Ducati, one will be left with the machinery from this year’s factory Ducati team. The remainder of the Ducati teams in the championship will receive the Ducati Desmosedici GP15 as an upgrade to the GP14 they are currently running with.
It’s definitely a tough call for the independent team
The decision by the Octo Pramac Yakhnich Racing team will most likely become based on results. If they were to use those from the last round of the season at the Sepang International Circuit, where the riders met for the Shell Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the newer machinery would be going to Italian rider Petrucci as he finished the wet round in 10th whereas British rider Redding was just 15th. Going off the current championship standings, Redding would get it over Petrucci as he is currently ahead of him I 14th on 72 points; however Petrucci is just one point behind in 15th.
How they performed in Sepang
Discussing the last round in Sepang, both riders, like many in the world championship class, struggled in the conditions. It had rained heavily throughout the weekend, and the first session and the warm-up session prior to the race were the only ‘dry’ sessions on track for them.
Petrucci was amongst a pack of riders battling it out for eighth place it ended up being as several riders crashed out ahead of them. Eventually finding his rhythm on the drying track as the visibility improved, Petrucci’s lap times dropped and he was able to continue with the battle on track. However Redding was struggling with rear grip and he had to do what he could to remain in the points.
Petrucci had little confidence due to the wet
Petrucci admitted it was “very tough, especially in the first laps” as he found that he “suffered a lot on the straights” due to the “large water clouds” (spray) which meant he found it “almost impossible to see anything”. To add to this he had “little confidence in the front” and was unable to brake properly.
Although it was “hard” he was happy to make it in the top 10 but knew that this was partly because “some of the riders in front crashed”. He “brought home important points”, a decision he made affecting his performance in his way of trying to “avoid a crash”. He was “glad” he did not crashed however admitted, “I wanted to do much better”.
Redding lacked rear grip throughout the race
Redding spoke of how he found the Malaysian GP to be “a very difficult race” due to the fact he had “no rear grip”. Throughout the race he “never found the feeling with the rear tyre”, but then admitted, “others who went out with the hard were still competitive”. He found it “hard since the start” and revealed he “also risked crashing on the warm up lap”.
Despite the fact he “tried to push” he found that he was “never able to find the rhythm in order to recover on the top 10”. He spoke of how he “hoped it to be a dry race” as over the weekend he said he had “a good feeling in the dry”. He said, “To be honest I did not expect to struggle so much.”
How it looks in the championship
With wet rounds being more common this year, then surely it would benefit the Octo Pramac Yakhnich team to go with the rider who performed the best in those conditions. But then reflecting back on their seasons, Petrucci is just one point behind with one more round to go, and having missed the first four rounds with his hand injury.
Who has got the results throughout the season…
Out of the remaining 13 rounds they have competed in, Petrucci has qualified on 10 occasions whereas Redding has placed higher on the grid than Petrucci, three times. When it comes to the races, Redding has collected four DNFs, whereas Petrucci has only collected one (not including the rounds he did not appear in). Out o the 13 rounds they both competed in, Petrucci placed higher in the rankings 10 times than Redding, where Redding has only finished higher than Petrucci on three occasions.
So had it not been for the four rounds that Petrucci missed at the start of the season chances are he would be placed higher and guaranteed the latest version of the Ducati. But, both riders have the potential to perform well on it, and Redding is still higher in the championship. So we will have to wait and see whether it comes down to the championship decider in Valencia where they meet for the season finale.