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On paper, the Red Bull Ring is a venue to paint red - Borgo Panigale red. Ten corners of hard braking and accelerating make good reading for Ducati, and Andrea Dovizioso's (Ducati Team) first day at the Austrian GP kept the Italian manufacturer ahead of the game.
Not quite fastest in FP1 after his quickest lap was deleted due to exceeding track limits, 'DesmoDovi' closed the deal to take over at the top in the final minutes of FP2, stamping a little early authority on the venue once again - and showing few signs of pressure to perform. With the weather uncertain on Saturday, leading the way to provisional Q2 entry ensures the Italian's name remains a favourite for the winner's trophy.
Despite dominating the weekend last year, Dovizioso went into the weekend customarily cautious, with some doubts about their 2017 pace without winglets. Those doubts look somewhat lessened after Day 1, with the Italian using the new aero fairing debuted by teammate Jorge Lorenzo during the Czech GP and taking P1 on combined times by two tenths.
Andrea Dovizioso, P1: "I’m really happy, it's more positive than what we expected. For sure we are closer, but a lot of riders had good pace. However, the conditions were not normal today, so tomorrow there is a chance to improve our pace. Overall the feeling is good, we confirmed that the new fairing works quite well on this track; I had a good feeling and I was able to make a good lap time, so I’m really happy. Now we have to work on a lot of details such a tyres, fuel, and lines, but the base is really good and that was the key. The fairing gives us the same things as the winglets last year, in a different quantity but in the same way.”
Dovizioso: "The new fairing works quite well at this track"