Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) topped the first day of track action for the eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich as Ducati made it a 1-2-3, but it wasn’t a normal day – FP1 was dry and FP2 saw torrential conditions delay the start. ‘DesmoDovi’ led a Ducati charge that largely bridged both, however, with only Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) able to keep close company with Dovizioso, teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing).
So should we start the Jaws music for the Italian manufacturer? Here’s what the three fastest men on Friday had to say:
Andrea Dovizioso, P1: “This morning we started with really good speed, our bike works very well with this track and we did some work for the race. Unfortunately, nobody had a lot of time because in the afternoon it started to rain, but also in the wet the bike worked well, the grip was really good with the soft tyre so overall a really good day.
“At the moment with just one practice it looks like it’s just the Hondas that are very close to us. The other bikes I think had some problems this morning and didn’t show the full reality, but it looks like Suzuki and Yamaha are struggling a bit more.”
Jorge Lorenzo, P2: “As we expected it rained in the afternoon, so we were able to practice a bit in the wet. But it looks like it might not be worth anything because it’s not going to rain. We were competitive in both conditions, especially in the dry, we finished second behind my teammate so we started in a good way.”
The number 99 also did a quick back-to-back chassis comparison: “We didn’t have a lot of time, we did one exit with one chassis and one with the other, so not much time to compare. It’s a very similar feeling so we have to study a little bit. We’ll keep both chassis for tomorrow…”
Danilo Petrucci, P3: “It’s been a positive day, I finished third this morning and third this afternoon. The weather conditions were really different but I felt ok this morning since the beginning, the Ducati is always very fast. It’s not because of the speed, we don’t have a big advantage on speed. The other manufacturers are close to us but I think we are ok on braking and electronics, and saving the tyre as always will be useful. Marquez I think is a little bit faster than us in both conditions, this morning he rode very fast with a used tyre, this afternoon he gave us a second so it’s a lot. But we are trying to focus on ourselves and make the bike easier to repeat the laptime.”
Will the weather be dry again on Saturday morning? Or are we in for another drenched session? Find out in FP3 from 9:55am (GMT +2) before qualifying from 14:10 (GMT +2) – when Marquez will be trying to depose the Ducatis and take back the top. If it is wet, signs say the reigning Champion will be well-prepared…