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Dovizioso: “I’m not too worried…”

Fastest on Friday, it’s looking good – but the Italian won’t stop there

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) led a 1-2 for Borgo Panigale machinery on Day 1 in the desert, edging Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) out and taking over at the top. Both men were happy on Friday – with Petrucci grinning an incredulant "I didn’t think I could do a lap time like this, but we are here and happy" and ‘DesmoDovi’ equally positive. 

Dovizioso: "The track is much hotter than the test"

“It’s really good, and we’ve confirmed the good feeling from the test, which I’m really happy about,” beams the Italian. “Of course, we had to adapt to the temperature and it’s much hotter. Fortunately, the bike worked well in these temperatures and now we have to work on the details for the race. The speed is there but we need to manage the tyre in the best way, it’s the key to manage it for 22 laps. Tomorrow we will concentrate on that, to be fast and not use the tyre too much.”

Speaking of tyres – the management of which is a calling card for the 2017 runner up – ‘DesmoDovi’ adds a little more on setting up for race day.

“The tyre worked well, like in the test,” he explains. “I’m not too worried, but in every race you have to work on the details, as there are a lot of riders with good pace. You can’t know though until you’re in the race: today I was lucky because I was behind Valentino and I was able to confirm how to ride for the race, not thinking of the overall laptime. There are always the same good riders working well in practice to be fast in the race.”

There is indeed a deep field of challengers gearing up for Sunday’s first battle of the year – but the closest two on Day 1 not on Borgo Panigale machines? Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone pulled a surprise – or not.

“I’m not surprised,” smiles Dovizioso. “At this track the bike works very well and both riders are very fast, so I think they will both be strong in the race.”

The grid is decided for that race from 19:20 local time (GMT +3) on Saturday, before the showdown on Sunday sees the lights go out (and the floodlights come on) at 19:00.

Highlights: Ducati dominates opening day in the desert