Team Ducati Alstare owner Francis Batta acknowledges that the weakness of the new Panigale 1199R can be found on the straights and says they need to improve it in order to challenge for the championship.
Carlos Checa roared to pole position yesterday but seemed unable to match the pace of the factory Aprilias in race trim before a horrible collision with Marco Melandri ended his day. The Spaniard piled into the back of the BMW while fighting for third and was knocked unconscious after being thrown from the bike. Unsurprisingly, he missed race two due to his injury, leaving the team without a rider after Ayrton Badovini’s withdrawal on Saturday.
Batta was disappointed not to take any points away from Phillip Island but sees plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the season ahead.
“To win Superpole yesterday at the first race with this new bike was an excellent result and a testimony to all the hard work everybody has put in. It’s clear that our bike is down on speed compared to our competitors, so Carlos has been having to make up for that on the brakes and in the turns. We need to improve our speed so that Carlos and Ayrton can compete with our rivals. This bike is very new for all of us, but we are working as hard as we can and making progress every time we go out on the track. I’m sure we will keep improving and be in a good position to challenge for podiums next time out.”