“The reality is that we’ve found completely different conditions,” says Friday’s fastest man at Misano, Andrea Dovizioso. “And the grip is completely different…”
Compared to what? Compared to the test that he and teammate Jorge Lorenzo did recently at the venue, when temperatures were high and so too was grip by all accounts. It was a worry for the Italian in the Press Conference and something he mentioned, and despite going fastest on Friday he says it will leave them to make changes overnight due to a bad feeling with the bike.
“The tyres are working in a strange way, completely different to the test. So, we have to change something for tomorrow because we have the speed, this is nice to confirm, but I didn’t really have a good feeling on the bike during the practice. We have to study our competitors to understand the speed they have. I don’t feel so good. I’m happy to be first because the lap time is good, without a really good feeling, but overall the bike is better than last year.”
So does teammate Jorge Lorenzo agree? Yes, but with tinged with a bit more optimism – and it was only a tenth and a half between the two at the top on Day 1.
“Yesterday it rained, so the track is more slippery than a month ago,” is Lorenzo’s explanation for the radically lower grip levels. “The lap times were more difficult to do. Finally, with new tyres, we did a great lap. Also, we’ve been working a lot with the race pace for Sunday. So, I think it has been a good beginning. Second place, we are quite satisfied.”
In general, the weekend is one for optimism for Lorenzo. The Mallorcan has one of the best records in the grid at the venue, and he’s in some serious form. “We are working well. For the moment, we are in top shape and getting good results. Misano is one of my favourite tracks. For Ducati, until this year, it has always been a difficult track but I think our bike now is very competitive.”
Difficult track for Ducati? History has sometimes said so, with only Casey Stoner having been able to take to the top step there, but a 1-2 on Day 1 in 2018 bodes well for a new entry in the record books on Sunday.