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Iain Hopcroft, Moto Rapido Ducati's Team Manager, reflects on a hot bank holiday weekend (43 degrees track temperature) at Oulton Park.

Superbike
Taylor Mackenzie made an impression from the start of FP1 after our test there the previous week. By Lap 3 he was already faster than the test and by the end of the first day we had put the bike in 5th place.

Everyone had a new soft tyre to try from Pirelli and we seemed to have the settings right.

Qualifying came and going into Q2 we knew we needed to be just 2 tenths faster to make it into the top 9. With a speedy rear wheel change, his first sector he made up those 2 tenths and into sectors two and three he equalled his best times… Coming into the last turn he pushed a little too hard, loosing grip on the front tyre and almost crashing, costing him 3 tenths and putting us P13. Needless to say, Taylor was as gutted as were we, but we all knew he had the pace.

Race 1 and the chase was on. After a slightly disappointing qualifying session Taylor wanted to show everyone he was better than 13th. He was full of confidence and wanted to bring the team home a top ten but sadly it was not meant to be, with a small tip off at the last corner on lap 8.

Race 2 we started P12 and Taylor was focussed on scoring some good points. With track temperatures soaring it made the bike a little unpredictable over the length of the race due to the weight decrease as fuel was spent. Taylor found the handling better towards the end of the race, but by then he had dropped back to P14. Some points scored, but we all knew he deserved so much more.

He was still full of smiles after the disappointment waned as his lap times were as fast as the front runners. We are back to Oulton later in the year and he knows the second visit will be better for us.


Moto3
Thomas Strudwick struggled at the beginning of the weekend and qualified 6th and in Race 1 he finished 6th. The team worked hard on the issues in preparation for Race 2 on the Monday which clearly paid off as Thomas brought home the 3rd place trophy.

He now moves back onto the British Talent Cup bike and joins the World Superbike crew at Donington Park on the 26th-27th of this month.


TriOptions Ducati Cup
Levi Day missed out in Race 1, after putting it on pole in qualifying, due to a master cylinder fault. But Levi managed to put in a good lap time to see him start P4 in Race 2, which he lead from start to finish to claim the win. He is currently 7th place in the championship, only 44 points behind the leader.

Josh Wainwright started P2 for Race 1 but got a little beaten up, ending the race in 10th place. Race 2 he finished 9th, making little dent in his championship standing where he is currently 3rd place and only 17 points behind the leader.

Next week we have a test at Snetterton where we have some great success in the past, so we look forward to hitting the ground running in terms of set up.