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20 days ago

Winner number nine? Dovizioso on Sepang pole

Ducati rider sublime in the wet to take his second pole position of the year

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) pulled a fast one in qualifying for the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, taking pole position in the soaked session to line up in P1 for the second time in 2016. ‘DesmoDovi’, who abandoned his original strategy in qualifying in favour of a harder rear tyre, was the only one of those on the front row who took to pitlane during Q2, and was on provisional pole before then heading out to lower his own laptime further. With eight different winners so far in 2016 and the Italian veteran having taken his premier class win in the wet at Donington Park, a wet race at Sepang – although not popular in the paddock – could prove a good opportunity for ‘DesmoDovi’ to become that record-breaking winner number nine of the season.

Andrea Dovizioso (P1): “Every practice has been a challenge, because of the rain but also the asphalt. The grip is very good but there are wet patches on the line, and you can’t ride quite how you want. And here when it starts to rain it’s really heavy…you have to adapt to every condition and I’m really happy with the way we worked with our strategy – I was able to do a good laptime on the harder tyre and the soft. My strategy was supposed to be non-stop and qualifying on the soft tyre, and I knew everyone else was on the hard so I thought maybe I was wrong. But then I decided to come in the box a bit late, and then I could only do a few fast laps on the hard tyre, but the second one was enough for the pole position. This morning in the dry it wasn’t great, but this weekend the conditions have been strange. So I hope we can try and improve the feeling tomorrow in Warm up. Everyone wants to race in the dry, but we are competitive in the wet.”

Dovizioso: "Our strategy was quite strange"