World Superbike champion Carlos Ducati has yet to test Ducati’s new Panigale 1199, but is set to ride the exciting new Italian machine during a test in June. The Panigale was in competitive action for the first time in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race at Imola, when Eddi La Marra put the bike on the podium in third place. Ducati is adopting a tried and tested development strategy with the Panigale, with the Superstock class used as a testing ground as work continues on the Superbike version.
Reigning champion Checa, who completed the double at Imola, has a test on the Panigale – Ducati’s most radical model for some time – scheduled for Mugello following the World Superbike round at Misano. Ducati Corse’s Superbike boss Ernesto Marinelli said: “Checa has not tested it yet – a strange coincidence but it was not planned. We hope to have him make a nice test around June. “Every other test we have is very close to races, so it is not particularly nice to test too soon before a race. The Panigale is a different bike and the feel is different too, so we do not want to take Carlos’ concentration from the championship. That is his primary target. “His test is scheduled for Mugello after the Misano round, in one of our regular development tests we do every month.”
Marinelli, meanwhile, was satisfied with the Panigale’s racing debut at Imola but feels it could so easily have been a winning one as La Marra was leading the race before the red flags were deployed. “I know the potential of the bike is definitely higher than it appeared in Imola,” he said. “I was quite pleased in race one with La Marra and overall with La Marra’s performance over the weekend. I would have expected a bit more from the other riders, from [Lorenzo] Savadori and [Federico] Sandi, but Sandi had not been on the bike since the first test he did at Phillip Island with Liberty Racing. “He also had to adapt on the tyres, and also he had not ridden at Imola during the three days of testing there that most others had, as a test for the CIV championship.”
“I think it was a very strange race,” continued Marinelli. “La Marra did very well in the first part, and he was leading by 1.5 seconds before they put out the red flag. “Our thoughts were that he was heading for his first win but they stopped it and he had already used all his four sets of tyres.
“He had to restart with the same tyres he finished the first leg on. They tell me Sylvain Barrier and [Loris] Baz each had one tyre that was barely used left (from their allocation), so they used them on the second part. “With a five-lap race and no aggregate any more, it was one-shot race after that. Overall I have to say I was happy.”
Britain’s Kev Coghlan finished seventh on the DMC Racing Panigale ahead of Savadori in Imola.
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