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In 2017, Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) was victorious at Mugello and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. In 2018, Jorge Lorenzo pulled off the same feat. Now, both Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) are aiming to continue Ducati’s domination of both the Italian and Catalan Grands Prix.
However, the duo will be requiring a helping hand from their famous holeshot devices after securing second and third row starts for Sunday’s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya.
But, after Desmo Dovi secured his 2017 Catalan GP win from seventh on the grid, the man currently sitting second in the World Championship is pleased to be fifth for tomorrow’s main event.
“The feeling was quite good in qualifying,” said Dovizioso. “The gap is quite small so I’m happy; the second row is okay. About the race I really don’t know what to expect. For sure, we’re in the top group and we’ll have a chance to fight for the victory and the podium but it’s very difficult to analyse and understand what our competitors can do because the grip was very low this weekend.”
MotoGP™ Q2 in Catalonia: The melee for pole
The Italian was a massive 0.8 of a second slower than the lap time he posted in qualifying last year, with Dovi unable to pinpoint why the MotoGP™ grid isn’t matching the pace of 2018.
“We’re one second slower than last year so something happened. Everybody is struggling so it’s very difficult to ride the bike and it’s impossible to have a perfect feeling because you remember what it felt like in the past. When you are slower it means you’re struggling so I don’t think anyone has the perfect feeling.
“I don’t know if our pace is the fastest or we can really fight. I’ve only seen Rins have a really good pace, apart from him there’s a lot of fast riders but everybody is trying different tyres, everybody put new tyres in for FP4, which is unusual, so a strange weekend.
“I arrived here ready and relaxed, and everybody can see that from the first practice, but tomorrow will be strange. For sure, we’ll have our chance, but we’ll have to wait and see if that turns into a victory.”
Meanwhile, following a debut premier class win last time out at his home round, Petrucci also poses a strong threat as he aims to continue the Bologna factory’s fortunes in Tuscany and Catalonia.
Despite a crash in Q2, Petrux bounced back on his second bike to front row three of the grid, the same grid slot his teammate won from in 2017; a lucky omen?
“We can fight for the podium tomorrow. I expect it will be very, very hot and managing the tyre will be key. So, we have to start and go to the front as soon as possible to try and save the tyre for the last laps, as they will be crucial. We’ll see, we have a good pace I think but tomorrow managing the rear tyre and it’s temperature will be the key to a podium.”
The Barcelona to Bologna flight on a Monday morning has been filled with smiling Italians ever since Loris Capirossi picked up the manufacturer’s first ever MotoGP™ win back in 2003. 16 years and four victories later, Ducati are again confident of crashing the home heroes’ party.