Dovizioso earns first front row start of 2018

The Ducati rider qualified third in Catalunya and is confident he can challenge for victory on Sunday

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) will start Sunday’s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya from third, qualifying on the front row for a race for the first time this season.  

Dovizioso - after two consecutive DNFs in Jerez and Le Mans - bounced back at Mugello to secure an all-important P2 finish, clawing his Championship deficit to leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) down to 29 points. ‘DesmoDovi’ was the winner at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last season, with the Italian more than satisfied with how qualifying went.

“I'm really happy because we improved practice by practice and that is very important for the race. Our speed is very good, but it is very difficult to manage the slide with the new asphalt and the tyres that we have here, and overall, we have to improve in some areas but I’m happy about that,” explained Dovizioso, who seemed confident he can fight for the win on Sunday, while also eluding to how important it is to start on the front row in Barcelona.

“I don’t know if it will be enough to win tomorrow, but it will be enough to fight and we confirmed that in the qualifying. Normally it is quite difficult for me to make a good lap with the new tyres, and I did it, and I also made a mistake in Turn 10 so I’m happy about that. It was very important to start on the first row here for the race, and when you have one goal and achieve that goal, it’s very important.”

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo has looked in formidable form all weekend, so will it be a Ducati duel for the win? Maybe not, says Dovi. “It looks like we are (the quickest) but I don’t know if it’s really like this because in the race it will show you the reality, in practice you can see some lap times but it’s not easy, sometimes it’s true and sometimes it’s not so I think there is some other riders with good pace.”

He continued, “I don’t know and the 24 laps here are long for the tyres and no one has much experience with the new asphalt, so nobody can really know about the consumption.”

Find out if Dovizioso can take his second win of the season when the premier class riders go racing in Catalunya at 14:00 local time (GMT +2).