Ducati ditch Jerez demons with strong Friday showing

It hasn’t been a particularly happy hunting ground for the Bologna factory in the past but a Petrucci P1, Dovi P3 shows things are positive

Mission Winnow Ducati duo Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso put in a strong Friday showing at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España to sandwich reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) at the top of the combined standings.

Petrux and Dovi both improved their times in the afternoon session as the former took top spot by 0.012, with the latter just 0.097 off his teammate in third on a track that hasn’t favoured the Desmosedici machines in the past.

“It’s always nice to come back in Europe in Jerez, it’s a track I like a lot and today was a good day,” reflected Petrucci, who spearheads a top five covered by less than two tenths which hosts two Ducatis and three Hondas. “In the end the lap time was good but I think we have some room for improvement,” continued the Italian.

“Tomorrow morning the track will be cooler and maybe faster so today is not so important, but we understood something, especially on the tyre that might work for Sunday. And the most important thing is that we don’t change the setup a lot compared to Austin. For sure in Austin the race wasn’t good for me but I knew this and I also knew that this is a good track for me and for today I’m happy.”

Dovizioso was also pleased with how his day panned out. A slight setup change from FP1 to FP2 allowed the Championship leader to feel more comfortable on his GP19 around the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. It's a track he’s never stood on the podium at in the premier class, but if today is anything to go by, the chances of that changing come Sunday afternoon are high.

“I’m happy about the second practice because this morning the feeling was good but not good enough, and in the afternoon we change the setup and the feeling was a bit better,” explained the number 04 rider. “I’m happy because it was important to be fast in these conditions when they’re very hot.

“So with the race pace we are in the top group, this is positive, it’s not enough because I think Marc is very strong, but we are close. And I’m happy to see another Ducati at that speed, but I still think it’s not enough because the new asphalt will change a lot during the weekend because the rubber on the ground will have a lot of effect on the tyre. Really happy about the position but I don’t think the final result shows the reality of the riders around us but, happy… I don’t know if we can really fight for the victory at the moment but we are in the top group.”

It’s been Ducati vs Honda so far at the Spanish GP, so who will get the upper hand on qualifying day between the two mighty manufacturers? Find out when FP3 goes live at 09:55 local time (GMT+2), with qualifying kicking off at 14:10.

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