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On a track that doesn’t typically suit Ducati’s bike, Friday at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was a good day for Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) after the Italian was able to claim P2 in a dry FP2.
Despite finishing on the podium at Phillip Island last season, the Australian GP is a circuit neither Dovizioso or Ducati particularly favour. This, to some extent, explains why the man second in the Championship was pleased about finishing second to Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) after the opening day of track action. However, Dovi isn’t getting too carried away, P2 down to eighth place Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) is split by a mere 0.179.
"It was important to be in the top 10 with rain tomorrow"
“Really happy to be second. We are very close down to eighth position so it’s not important, but it was important to be in the top ten with maybe rain tomorrow,” commented Dovizioso. “So, pretty happy to do that lap time with my last lap. I used two tyres to be in the top ten and yeah, the lap was good. The feeling wasn’t bad at the end.
“I always struggle at this track and it’s very difficult for me, unfortunately, to enjoy riding here. The feeling isn’t special, but the grip is quite low, especially like always here on the left because you have to keep the angle for most of the lap. Not too bad though. We are in the group, we’re not the fastest, but it’s important to be in a good position.”
Wet weather is seemingly inbound for the rest of the weekend. Dovizioso lingered down in P10 at the end of a wet opening Free Practice session in Australia on Friday morning, but he and the team think they know why they struggled.
MotoGP™ FP2 in Australia: Who will top Day 1?
“It was quite bad but I think we know why. The setup wasn’t right for the weather and the grip. I really had a bad feeling but I think we understand why.”
It wasn’t just Dovizioso who was up the sharp end onboard a Ducati though. Home hero Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was second quickest in the wet conditions, with the Aussie then claiming P5 in the dry. Ducati Team’s Danilo Petrucci also performed well in the contrasting conditions, claiming P5 and P4 in FP1 and FP2.
Good vibes are springing from the Ducati camp at Phillip Island so far, but they’ll be hoping it’s not a slippery slope from here as the paddock get set for more rain on Saturday and Sunday. If the forecast is to be believed, FP3 will allow Dovizioso to find the wet setting he needs in order to challenge at the front as he did in the dry. For Miller and Petrucci, continuing their positive weekends will be the aim ahead of qualifying. FP3 begins at 10:50 local time (GMT+11), with qualifying getting underway at 15:05.
MotoGP™ FP1 at the Australian GP: Round 17 is GO!