In the Jerez tests Petrucci was immediately fast while in the Portimao tests he fell to the bottom of the standings. Let’s analyze his difficulties in adapting to the 2023 version of the Panigale V4R
February 6, 2023
The presence of Danilo Petrucci in Superbike makes me very happy. I’ve known him since he was a kid and racing in the Stock categories, so for me it’s like he’s come home. I followed it carefully in the tests in Jerez and in those of Portimaowhich had a completely different trend and outcome for the pilot of Barni Spark Racing Team.
Aside from the lap times, in Spain Danilo amazed me for going fast immediately with the 2022 version of the Panigale V4R. Even if some think the opposite, Superbike is not an easy category at all, and for someone like him who has no never raced it takes time to find the right way to work with your team, and to get to know your bike and your rivals. Because of this in his first test I was pleasantly surprised to see him immediately so close to the top positions.
In his statements, the former MotoGP rider stated that he felt comfortable with the team and with the bike “I found a good feeling with the V4perhaps also because I know this track very well – this is Petrucci’s thoughts in Andalusia – There is still a lot of work to do and there are some aspects that need to be explored, both on the bike and in my riding style, but I’m satisfied with what we have Done”.
Instead, the statements that the Terni made after the Portimao tests were completely different: “We worked so hard. Despite my efforts and that of the team, I’ve never been able to feel comfortable on the bike in the 2023 version. I can’t drive as I would like, and I have problems with the delivery of the new V4”. Unfortunately, his lap times confirmed everything.
Evidently the Jerez track, completely different from the Portimao one, had hidden problems that emerged in Portugal, and the difficulties were accentuated by the 2023 V4.
Let’s take a step back and go back to Jerez. The first to get on the new Ducati were obviously the two officers Bautista and Rinaldi. Surprisingly they both claimed to not having found major differences between the old and the new Panigale. “If they hadn’t told me it was the new one – said the Italian – I almost wouldn’t have noticed it”. But then because both Petrucci and Axel Bassani in Portugal had so many problemsespecially of delivery, if the two bikes are similar?
To clarify the enigma, we spoke to the Aruba.it Team technicians who explained the differences between the two bikes. In practice, thanks to the interventions carried out on the engine and the new exhaust system, the engine delivery is smoother and the bike less nervous. “Maybe some riders don’t even notice it – the opinion of Team manager Serafino Foti – but they can drive betterand this was confirmed by the data we collected and by the stopwatch.”
With a smoother engine, both Bautista and Rinaldi immediately felt at ease. Especially the Spaniard who, despite never having been a flying lap specialist, achieved a time close to those of the MotoGP.
One of the reasons (not the only) why Alvaro is very fast with the V4 and straightens the bike still inside the cornerthus opening the throttle before the others. A peculiarity due to its great driving skills and also to its weight, which allows it to lift the bike before the others without leaving the ideal line. The fluidity of delivery of the 2023 Panigale accentuates these characteristics.
Returning to Petrucci, in Portimao Danilo spoke precisely of supply problems. Probably the still poor knowledge of the bike and the different delivery compared to the V4 tested in Jerez, combined with his physical tonnage (so we make Redding happy too. Nda) create problems for him that Danilo will have to solve. working on the setting and on his way of driving this Ducati SBK. The contribution of his team will be decisive. After a few years without results, Marco Barnabò’s team now has the chance to re-emerge at high levelsbut he will have to demonstrate that he can concretely help their new driver to fully express his potential.
As for instead Axel Bassani, the difficulties could derive from the different exhaust system used by the Motocorsa Team compared to the other Ducati teams. Also in this case the technicians of Lorenzo Mauri’s team will have to help the young rider from Feltre.
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