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It was a mixed Friday at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley for Ducati. On one side of the fence, rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) ruled FP2 to finish at the top of the timesheets, with Mission Winnow Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci 0.131 off his compatriot in P3.
However, it wasn’t the opening day of the Italian GP that Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) would have been looking for. A P11 means the man sitting second in the Championship will need to find improvements in FP3 if he’s to go straight into Q2, with Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller sitting on the fringes of the top ten in ninth.
Bagnaia: “We have found some setting that I like”
“I’m very happy because the last two races have been very difficult because I was fast in pace and in the sessions but unfortunately we didn’t finish the races and I needed more laps with this bike,” began Bagnaia, who left it late in FP2 to go quickest.
“Arriving here in Mugello and being so fast in the first session because even this morning I was fast with used tyres, I’m so happy with the work done today. The time attack was very positive, I was very fast. Also, my pace with the medium has been very strong, so I’m happy. We have to continue along this line like in Le Mans because we have found something on the setting that I like and tomorrow I will go fast, but so will everybody. We’ll see tomorrow.”
A confident-sounding reigning Moto2™ World Champion knows that his FP2 time still might not be enough for an automatic Q2 place, so the Italian will be going gung-ho in FP3 to confirm his place in the battle for pole.
“I think that it will be very important to be in Q2 directly and tomorrow morning I will do another time attack to confirm the Q2, but all the energy of the fans here in Mugello push us a lot and so I will try. I will try to make a better result than the Top 10 I did in Jerez qualifying.”
Petrucci struggled to third on Day 1 at Mugello
Joining Pecco near the summit is Petrucci, who isn’t fully fit this weekend as he continues to suffer from the flu. “The feeling is quite good, even if I’m not fully fit. I have a very, very bad flu and I’m a little bit weak; tomorrow hopefully I will be better.” Promising signs for Petrux if he’s got more speed in his locker.
“I struggle a bit this afternoon. Anyway, both of the sessions were quite good, even if there is a lack of grip in all of the track,” continues the number 9 rider. “In sector four, I struggle a lot to do the last corner. My bike doesn’t turn a lot and it’s very, very difficult for me to connect the entry of the corner and the exit. So, it was never perfect at that corner. We have to understand why, so now we study some data and we can check also other riders, so maybe I will learn something. For sure, today I’m quite happy, even if our competitors are very, very fast. We have to fight tomorrow.”
A rider who will be having to fight is his teammate Dovi. Big name riders are languishing outside the top ten, which means one thing: FP3 is shaping up to be a proper scrap for the automatic Q2 places on Saturday morning. Will we see four Ducatis inside those top ten places tomorrow? Or can the likes of test rider Michele Pirro (Mission Winnow Ducati) make it five?
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