Andrea Iannone Laps Mugello Faster Than Rossi In Three-Day Test
After two days mostly lost to rain, Andrea Iannone finally got to spend some serious time on board the factory Ducati at Mugello, as the Italian completed a three-day test generally regarded as an audition for Ducati Junior team to be run by Pramac in 2013. Iannone made good use of his time, eventually lapping the iconic Italian circuit in 1'48.3, a time that would have been fast enough to qualify him in 10th place on the grid for this year's race, and two tenths faster than Valentino Rossi's qualifying time. Though the time was impressive, it was still some way off the time set by Nicky Hayden, the Factory Ducati man posting a time of 1'47.671 during qualifying for the Mugello race. But Hayden was not the fastest Ducati at Mugello back in July: Hector Barbera lapped in 1'47.565, a quarter of a second off the pole time set by Dani Pedrosa. But for Iannone to be lapping within a second of the pole on just his first proper test with the Ducati team is impressive.
Speaking to the official MotoGP.com website, Iannone pronounced himself pleased with the test. "I wasn't expecting this kind of lap time," Iannone admitted, describing himself as 'quite happy' with the test, while commenting that the bike was quite difficult to ride. He had impressed Ducati Corse chief Filippo Prezioso as well, the engineering boss also present at the test. He had worked well with the factory test team, and got a good feel for the bike and for the team.
Though an announcement that Iannone will be joining the Ducati Junior team for next season seems imminent, Iannone was careful to point out that no announcement has been made yet. But his plans were no secret, he told MotoGP.com: "Anyone can guess where I'll be next year." Iannone is expected to be racing alongside Texan Ben Spies in the Ducati Junior team. Pramac looks set to run the team, but they will have very close ties to the Ducati factory, and will be running machines very close in spec to the factory team.