“We can get the best from his MotoGP™ experience” – Ducati draft in Pirro for “power delivery” development

The two-day test for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will feature several test riders from four of the five manufacturers competing in WorldSBK, with the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati squad bringing in Michele Pirro. The Italian, using the #51 bike, brings a wealth of experience from competing in the Italian Superbike championship as well as helping to develop the Ducati MotoGP™ project, with the Italian testing alongside racers Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Nicolo Bulega.

Pirro’s world stage career began in the 125cc World Championship back in 2003, where he stayed until 2006 before competing domestically in the Superstock class, winning the title on the Yamaha R1. From there, he moved into WorldSSP, taking victory at Imola, before moving to Moto2™ and then MotoGP™. He has taken part in wildcards for the factory Ducati team since a full-time career came to an end, but his primary role has been as the team’s test rider, helping develop the Desmosedici GP to the force it is now. His valuable work was rewarded with a contract until the end of 2026.

Because of his experience in developing the MotoGP™ machine, the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati are utilising his skills on the Panigale V4 R. Explaining why, Ducati Corse Technical Coordinator Marco Zambenedetti said: “First of all, we are here to prepare for the round weekend as that’s always important. Fortunately, Barcelona seems to have good weather and is quite a complex and complete track; this gives us the possibility to setup the bike and test something new. Many of the things aren’t visible because they’re more about power delivery and the character of the engine with the new fuel control. There is also the test team that will help us improve the bike with Michele Pirro, who, especially in these areas, we can get the best from his experience in MotoGP™.

Zambenedetti also reviewed the manufacturer’s Australian round, where rookie Bulega won his debut race in WorldSBK and Bautista ended the weekend strongly as he took second in Race 2 after losing out in a last-lap fight with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK). Although it was a strong weekend for the Bologna-based manufacturer, it wasn’t as strong as the last two seasons where Bautista won five out of six races at Phillip Island in 2022 and 2023.

Discussing the Australia Round, Zambenedetti said: “About Australia, let me say I was positively impressed about Nicolo’s performance. We start to know him and his talent, but I’m impressed at the time it took for him to get to the top with this new bike. He adapted very quickly. Australia is always a friendly track for Ducati, and, in this case, it seems very good for Nicolo. Alvaro was struggling a bit as he tried to recover his confidence with the bike and find a new bike balance with the ballast that has been fixed on his bike. We’re still working on that area to give him the best package possible. I hope being in Barcelona, with all the references he has in his career, will help him and us to understand what the better setup with the ballast is. I’m pretty sure we will make an improvement with respect to Australia, and I hope we will be in the same position as last year.”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

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