ERC Endurance’s Ducati on track at Portimão
Ducati-backed team ERC Endurance have completed a very positive round of testing in Portugal with Ducati Corse staff.
Ducati Corse got its Superbike and Endurance teams together for two days of testing at Portimão. Following their debut outing on the Ducati bike at Sepang in December, this was an opportunity for ERC Endurance to work closely with Ducati technicians in the run-up to the 24 Heures Motos.
Julien da Costa, Louis Rossi and Ondřej Ježek rode the Panigale #6. Julien Da Costa was the fastest of the three at Portimão despite not riding the Ducati at Sepang. “I was very pleasantly surprised by these first few laps. I’d never tested a race-spec Ducati before in the whole of my 20-year career. You can tell the machine’s racing DNA straight off. It’s nothing like a Japanese bike or even a BMW. It’s very rigid, and the whole set-up is designed to maximize efficiency.” Julien is also pleased with Ducati’s attentive approach in these early stages of the brand’s foray into endurance racing. “They’re extremely attentive, they listen very closely. We have an engine designer following our progress throughout the year, and we often have two to four engineers as back-up to see how the bike is shaping up. You can tell they’re really interested.”
Louis Rossi also feels the two days of testing were very positive. “The key thing for us is to rack up mileage, because we’re testing the endurance waters with Ducati and vice versa. This Panigale has tons of potential in terms of the engine, electronics and chassis. We’re starting to get a better feel for the machine. In Malaysia, we had everything to learn. At Portimão, we did more laps and there was less pressure on us.”
ERC Endurance team manager Uwe Reinhardt says Ducati’s involvement is vital for the Panigale V4R’s development in the EWC. “They’re offering steady and consistent involvement not just in the races but also during private testing. There will always be a Ducati engineer with us during tests and races, because we can’t access the electronics on our own. At Sepang there were two additional staff members on hand who know the Superbike model inside out, and it’ll be the same thing at Le Mans to train up and support our technical crew to the fullest extent.”