Photos: 2015 MotoGP Preview - Andrea Iannone

A closer look at new Ducati Team rider Andrea Iannone's 2015 pre-season tests

Andrea Iannone kicked the 2015 pre-season tests off with a third best time at the first Sepang test, just .521 behind Marc Marquez. He did, however, use the softer rear compound available under the Open class concessions.Friedemann Kirn
The 29-year-old Italian was satisfied with the lap even still, saying that, "It's the best time ever posted by a Ducati rider on this track, and it was just our first test. I'd like to be in the same situation by our first race."
One of Iannone's main complaints during the early stages of pre-season testing was with the electronics. "I know there's still a lot of work to be done, especially on the electronics. You can make a difference on a flying lap, but over the race distance is a different matter. I've struggled in this regard before, so that's what we've been focusing on.”
The former Pramac Racing Ducati rider got up to speed relatively quickly on Ducati’s all-new GP15 during the second Sepang test, ending up in fourth position and just .607 seconds behind Marquez.
When asked to compare the GP14.3 and GP15, Iannone said that, “The GP15 is too unique to make comparisons with its predecessor. The feedback it gives you is different. I wasn't expecting to gain half a second straight away, but we laid some good foundations and we can be optimistic ahead of the season opener.”
Optimism probably grew a bit during the first day of the Qatar test, where Iannone jumped to the top of the time sheet, supposedly without using the soft option tires. Andrea Dovizioso was second quickest.
Iannone's lap, a 1:55.265, was faster than last year's race record (a 1:55.575 by Alvaro Bautista) despite a track that, according to the racers, had much less rubber on the surface than in previous years.
"Today's first place mostly helps our morale, but I wouldn't underestimate our performance,” said Iannone. “We constantly improved our times, each modification worked, and I managed to be consistent on used tires, something we've struggled with so far.”
During the second day of the Qatar test, both Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso engaged in an even, long-distance duel with reigning world champion Marc Marquez...
Dovizioso would go on to top the time sheet by posting a 1:54.907 on race tires (Dovi was the only rider able to break the 1:55 wall), while Iannone finished the test off with a 1:55.104, good enough for third spot.
If Ducati's success continues into the MotoGP season, it'll begin to lose some of the advantages it has under the Open class rulebook. Regardless, Ducati says that any criticisms of these original concessions is useless. "Without these concessions, it'd have taken us three years instead of one to get where we are. I think the whole championship benefits from it," says Ducati's Gigi Dall'Igna.

In preparation for the start of the 2015 MotoGP season, Sport Rider is taking a closer look at a few of the top riders from pre-season testing, plus a MotoGP rookie following in Casey Stoner’s footsteps.

Andrea Iannone earned a spot on that list of top riders by turning the quickest lap time on the first day of the Qatar pre-season test, and then backing that time up with the third-quickest time on day two of the test. The 29-year-old Italian is a former Pramac Racing Ducati rider (and actually rode a factory-spec Ducati in 2014) who was bumped up to the official Ducati Team alongside Andrea Dovizioso for 2015. Scroll through the gallery above to check out all the photos from Sepang and Qatar, and to read about Iannone's thoughts on the new GP15.

Tomorrow we will take a look at Marc Marquez's pre-season test program. Stay tuned.