At Le Mans Andrea Dovizioso is experiencing one of the last real chances of keeping his ambitions alive for the world championship title. The French track is probably the best one for the Ducati from now to the end of the championship and scoring a good result is essential.
Today Quartararo took pole, but sixth position on the grid leaves Dovizioso’s hopes intact of being able to fight for the victory and close part of the gap that currently separates him from the championship leader.
Five Ducatis in the top ten places on the grid is a perfect sign of the competitiveness of the Rossa in France, but Dovizioso thinks the reason lies more in the demerits of others than in its own merits.
"I don't have a precise answer as to why we are so fast here - underlined Dovizioso - I don't think there is a single answer. Perhaps our rivals suffer more than us on this track and these temperatures here. The Suzuki is struggling, the Yamaha doesn't seem superior like on other tracks. There is not a single technical explanation. For me, I think the question is that there is less braking with the bike upright and this helps me and us. But I don't know exactly why we are fairly strong, while so many others seem to suffer a lot ".
Dovizioso: "There is a drop in the tyres at the maximum angle that is difficult to manage"
Is a better qualifying session than in the last few races a good starting point to be able to fight for the win?
"Finally I can see the lights better! There are a lot of us with a very similar pace, but in reality I don't think so. We need to study the timesheets well, but we are in good shape. We are not the best, but we are in good shape. The tyres have abnormal wear, they don’t have a sharp drop, but there is a drop in maximum angle which is difficult to manage. When you have to connect the curves at the end of the race you have to be very careful, it is a problem that we have all had since the beginning of the year with these tyres. I think it's everyone's problem, but I'm not sure. Tomorrow it will be essential to get in front right away and push hard and this is not easy at Le Mans. This approach will make a difference tomorrow. "
Do you think you are in with a chance of the win?
"I expect to fight for the podium, it's essential to stay afloat in the championship. In the race it will be difficult because our bike is as always a bit physical but it could also be an advantage in the end for us if the race were to go to in a certain direction. There are a lot of Ducati riders up front, when we are involved with our particular way of riding and going fast we can upset the 27 laps of the race, so anything can happen tomorrow ".
Will starting well and taking the lead in the race be essential to avoid a Yamaha breakaway?
"Any Yamaha that goes ahead tomorrow can make a difference, including Valentino. But it will be difficult for him because he starts from behind. It will be essential not to give them the opportunity to make their lines, they are very fast and consistent and can keep a good pace until the end. ".
In the last sector you lose a lot. Do you have room for improvement?"
In sector four I am not fast enough. I think I lose a lot of time in turns 1 and 12, so I can't keep a good pace at that point on the track. I have problems because at the braking point of turn 11, I try to brake the bike too much, I don't do the curve well. In qualifying I never managed to do well at that point, there was also a bit of wind and I was never really perfect. I think the Yamaha is better in that sector than us. They are fast too compared to the other Ducati riders at that point. "