More than two months after the first laps on the Ducati Panigale V4-R, Andrea Iannone and the Go Eleven Team meet in Jerez de la Frontera to start the 2024 season. Two days of testing with all the WorldSBK protagonists on the track, optimal conditions and almost perfect temperatures. As underlined by rider number 29: “this is the first real test”; last October the damp asphalt and the emotion of getting back on the bike had slightly influenced the work on the track, focused mainly on finding balance and harmony.
The goal of day one is to remove the rust, regain the feeling on the bike. Andrea immediately found himself at ease, settling on the low 40s in the first few outings, then improving his references towards the middle of the day. In the afternoon the activity focuses more on the set-up, carrying out some tests on both the front and rear. Useful work to understand the various reactions of the V4-R in different suspension configurations. Difficult to improve the references towards the end of the day, probably due to a slightly slower asphalt. Team Go Eleven opted not to use qualifying tyres, moving the time attack to tomorrow. 1.39.684 the best lap of the day, which is worth the seventh place.
Day 1 Results:
P 1 N. Bulega 1.38.292
P 2 A. Lowes + 1.182
P 3 T. Razgatlioglu + 1.229
P 7 A. Iannone + 1.392
Andrea Iannone (Rider):
“Today was the first real test for me. In October I was very excited, I hadn’t ridden a racing bike for a long time, but today I was able to work calmly. We tried to take a few steps on the bike to understand the feedback and the reaction. I don’t want to go too far, these are tests so the values on the track could be slightly different. I believe we have what it takes to work well but we will have to wait at least until the end of tomorrow to have a report. I thank the team for today’s work and Ducati, because it is providing us with excellent support.”
Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):
“Today we did a lot of work, thanks to Andrea who in just a few laps managed to immediately resume the pace he left last October, we were able to carry out several tests aimed mainly at giving Andrea knowledge of the bike’s reactions following different configuration steps. We still have a lot to focus on and there are several areas where we can improve. This gives us confidence, also because in terms of race pace we are close to the references of the category!”
The two days on the Andalusian track ended positively in terms of lap time, with Andrea Iannone managing to confirm himself close to the first of the category at the end of the combined.
The morning was dedicated to the maximum performance, mindful that in the afternoon of the first day the times had risen significantly. The number 29 immediately found a good rhythm, improving on the first outing the 39.6 achieved yesterday. With the qualifying tyre he improves further, dropping to 38.7, but still complains about a set-up and electronics configuration that is not optimal to get the most out of the SCQ. Upon returning to the track with race tyres he managed to settle close to his reference, maintaining a fast and constant race pace. Towards the end of the day, a shakedown of the 2024 version of the bike was scheduled and despite some small adaptation difficulties, in the last laps the team and rider found the correct way to start again in Portimao. A small crash at turn 2, towards the middle of the day, did not stop the development, with Andrea promptly returning to the pits without any physical consequences.
Jerez Test Combined Results:
P 1 N. Bulega 1.37.809
P 2 J. Rea + 0.536
P 3 S. Redding + 0.763
P 4 T. Razgatlioglu + 0.829
P 5 A. Iannone + 0.935
There is still a lot of work to be done to be ready for the first race, in the next two days in Portimao, 29/30 th January, the main objective will be to exploit the qualifying tyre and find the right combination to express the maximum potential. Working on his aspect is crucial too, considering that Superpole is a delicate session and Andrea still doesn’t have much experience with the rear extragrip. The report at the end of the first complete test of 2024 is however positive, Iannone has found solidity and is slowly reaching the limits of the bike, adapting it to his riding style.
Andrea Iannone (Rider):
“Today was a fairly positive day, I continued to adapt to the bike, to the tyres, trying to understand the feedbacks from my Panigale V4-R. We are focused on the race pace with the aim of obtaining consistent performance, even on used tyres. We leave the two days in Jerez with a good pace, the race simulation provided good feedback, as a first test we can be satisfied. It’s a shame we didn’t make good use of the Q qualifying tyre, but we were focused on different things, despite some little problem at the end of the day. At Portimao we will have to try to understand the use of that tyre and how to make the most of it. I have never ridden at Portimao with the race bike, but I was there three weeks ago with a standard bike. We will have to try to be fast there too and we will have to continue our growth process to finish in the best possible way before leaving for Australia.”
Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):
“It was a positive two days here in Jerez, we managed to improve our basic set up, Andrea and the team worked well together and in the first race simulation, the pace was surprisingly better than expected. It doesn’t mean that the work is done, it’s the opposite, there are many areas to improve on and the margins are visible. Andrea is on his third day on this bike and still has to get to know all the aspects and characteristics of this championship which is completely new to him. Now let’s go to Portimao and carry forward the work program set in view of the imminent start of the world championship”