It was the perfect recipe, Moto GP riders, high placed Moto GP team principles, new rising Talent, a world champion and a manufacturer of the Might of Honda. No doubt people would have asked a few questions, that were hard to reply too exactly but it does give some fuel to get complex answers.
It was the first chance for some of the media to talk to riders who had been testing down in Southern Spain, while the presence of Ducati’s Moto GP bosses Paolo Ciabatti and Davide Tardozzi, attending as guests of Troy Bayliss, added real weight to the debate. David Emmett a known Moto GP Journalist and owner of the most detailed Moto GP related website, motomatters.com had a chance to have a word with Ciabatti about the Ducati GP15 and the Michelin tires. Ciabatti was optimistic about the GP15, but confirmed that it was still not certain exactly when the bike would make its first appearance on track. The chances being, the second Sepang test a more likely place for the bike to be rolled out. With Ducati wanting the bike to be completely ready, Ciabatti felt, It was better for Ducati to roll out a bike ready to take on testing, than rush to try to get a bike going at Sepang 1, and find problems that would have been easier to deal with if discovered on the dyno.
Ciabatti did reveal a few details of what the GP15 will look like. “The shape is very similar to the GP14.2,” Ciabatti said. “The tail is different, and the exhaust is different.” The biggest difference, however, is the physical size of the bike. The GP15 will be a much smaller bike than the GP14.2, continuing in the direction the GP14.2 started, which was narrower at the waist of the bike.
“The GP15 looks like a GP14.2 which has been washed at too high a temperature and shrunk in the wash,” Ciabatti joked. While on the front of talking about the Michelins and how did the tests went, Ciabatti declined to give any answer, beyond vague assurances that Ducati was happy. The contractual situation between Bridgestone and Michelin leaves all of the factories and the riders in a bind. They are not allowed to make statements comparing the two tire manufacturers while Bridgestone still has the official MotoGP contract, a contract they paid a lot of money for.
This creates a difficult situation, as comparisons are exactly what journalists will want to ask about once the official Moto GP riders get their first taste of the tires at the second Sepang test at the end of February. It is a situation which will need to be addressed before testing starts in earnest.
Another interesting thing to note was the presence of the French youngster Fabio Quartararo at the Superprestigio,however he was only a spectator rather than a competitor. There are rumours concerning that the youngster’s lap times at the Valencia test achoed among the media, with suggestions that he lapped under the lap record at the test, and that this was the reason Honda had not wanted to publish the youngster’s lap times.
However convoluted and ridiculous the process has been by which Quartararo has been allowed into Moto3, despite being technically underage, and a new rule created just to allow him to race, (Remember Marco Simoncelli Rule at Moto GP, anyone?) his talent seems to be beyond doubt. Quartararo could be good enough to win races in his first season in Moto3, something which is virtually unheard of. The Frenchman has been widely tipped as the man to beat Marquez, and the rumours at the Superprestigio will only feed the hype. Perhaps Quartararo’s biggest test will be learning to deal with the media attention and the weight of expectation.
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