Andrea Dovizioso was outpaced by Ducati test rider Michele Pirro on the opening day of practice at Misano but the Italian felt that there was little need for this to be a cause of concern given Pirro’s testing at the circuit throughout the season thus far.
Of more concern to the Italian was the benefits of the new exhaust system that Ducati will race for the first time this weekend. Dovizioso had previously used it during a test but this was his first experience of the new part at a Grand Prix weekend:
“I had a small test with the new exhaust but this is the first race,” said the former 125cc world champion. “At this track I don’t feel a difference about the driveability but the sound is much better when you’re riding the bike. Before our bike made too much noise and it’s now better when you are at maximum angle when you have to play with the throttle. The sound before was so high and it was a little bit distracting.”
Yesterday Dovizioso had commented that he thought that having previously tested at Misano could play into his hand on the opening day of running but given that the conditions were quite different today it seems that there was limited benefit of the test for the Italian:
“The conditions today compared to the test were a bit different with lower temperatures which made a difference with the feeling of the bike and we have more vibration on the front and it’s not so easy on the first lap to warm the tyre. The conditions are a bit different to the test but the lap time is very similar and like I expected the riders in front of us are really fast, low 34’s, and I think they’ll go faster tomorrow so our target tomorrow is to have a pace of under 1m35s.
Like numerous other riders Dovizioso struggled for front end grip with the rising temperate in the afternoon clearly producing a greasier track surface than in the morning with numerous riders crashing across the three classes. For Dovizioso this made it very difficult to improve his performance in the afternoon due to the lack of grip when cornering:
“This afternoon the grip was a little bit low and it was quite difficult to improve the lap time. The track is quite tight and slow so you can’t really create a new line so it’s difficult to improve the lap time. When you try and have more speed in the middle of the corner it is very easy to lose the front.”