Dovizioso warns Ducati domination not representative
Andrea Dovizioso says Ducati's sweep of the top four positions on the final day of the Sepang MotoGP test is not an accurate reflection of the Italian marque's current strength.
Dovizioso ended up fourth-fastest on the third and final day of running at Sepang, 0.299s slower than his new factory teammate Danilo Petrucci, with Pramac pair Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller ending up second and third.
While Ducati had previously suggested it would wait until the final pre-season test in Qatar to try out a refreshed aerodynamic fairing, both Dovizioso and Petrucci were sent out with new bodywork featuring three wing elements on Friday (pictured above).
"The feeling with the new fairing is good, I am happy about that," said Dovizioso. "Today we did a good laptime, the track was really fast, a lot of riders did special laptimes, it is nice to see.
"Every year we make the test here so we know very well this track and the laptimes. To see 1m58s, it's the first time for me, and I am really happy to see four Ducatis on top, this is nice, and a nice confirmation of our base.
"It doesn't mean we are the fastest for the race because it doesn't show the reality, the final result, but I am happy."
Asked who he saw as Ducati's main challengers at this stage, Dovizioso replied: "It's too early to understand this, it's impossible to understand the Hondas because the riders [Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow] were not in good shape.
"I think the Yamaha is a bit better and the two riders start a bit better than last year so I expect them a bit stronger from the beginning and [Alex] Rins I think is very fast, but it's too early."
Dovizioso added that Petrucci's unofficial new record time did not come as a surprise to him, considering the improving condition of the Sepang track over the course of the test.
"We are all surprised at the times we did today, but it did not rain for three days and so the track has improved a lot," he said. "But I'm not amazed at Danilo's time, because he had shown good speed in the past.
"In this test he worked to figure out where to improve from a race perspective, which is what matters to him right now. He has more potential than what he has shown up to today."
Petrucci still unsure of prospects
Petrucci likewise downplayed the significance of his laptime, which surpassed the unofficial record set by the man he replaces at Ducati, Jorge Lorenzo, at the Sepang test last year.
"We are okay to be in the top five," said Petrucci, who crashed with his new fairing on his outlap and therefore didn't get chance to sample it properly.
"I don't [know] if it is enough for the podium because Valentino [Rossi], if you remember the last year race, he was absolutely incredible.
"Rins is very fast when the conditions are very hot, Marquez [there's] no need to talk [about]. So fighting for the top five is still hard and laptime doesn't count too much.
"For sure I did a very good laptime but the conditions were good. Fortunately the race will be in November, so we have still some time for work, but at the moment the hottest condition is the weakest point for us."
Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont and Scherazade Mulia Saraswati
Danilo Petrucci, Ducati Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images
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