Chaz, how was your first taste of the Panigale?
“It took a bit of getting used to but the test went well – we did about 140 laps over the two days. I ended the test faster than I did when I came here on the Beemer last year, by a decent margin too, and faster than my race laps on the Beemer, so it’s not looking too bad but I reckon we’re still a second off where we need to be. Me and Davide did a similar time and Ducati seemed happy with our progress. We also went a good bit quicker than their boys did during the race weekend. Once we get a few little things sorted, we’ll be in a much better place.”
Is life with a monocoque chassis as different as you were expecting?
“Yes, it’s definitely different. Other superbikes I’ve ridden are a bit more stop and go, but the Ducati feels like a really quick 250 to me. Over the past few years, I’ve worked on my style to pick the bike up and get it on the fat part of the tyre as quick as possible, but the Ducati is a momentum bike at the moment. That took some adjusting to. By the end of the second day, I was a lot more comfortable with the front, letting the brake go a little later than you think you should.
“The electronics are pretty sweet. It’s Ducati’s own system. The one thing it’s missing at the moment is a throttle blipper. I was quite surprised it hasn’t been part of the bike. I thought everyone had one these days! After using one for the past three years, it wasn’t easy using the clutch again. We should have one at the next test, that’ll be a real help for balance and stability.”