Dovizioso's work method over the winter has proved to be a very valid one. Andrea is not a rider who looks for fireworks during testing, preferring to demonstrate consistency and, when lap times are also solid - Dovizioso was second on day one at Losail - it means that he's on the right track.
“As soon as I went out, I found the track was cleaner than in the past, despite there being no rubber on it. We were able to make some important tests with the fairings which have given us some very clear information. We still have to understand the tyres, which are slightly different".
Now you need to choose which fairing to homologate, do you have a clear idea?
“There are differences of course, pros and cons, it won't be easy to decide when and where to use them, just like last year. We have a fairig that's an improvement on the 2017 version, but this is a complicated aspect, for everyone. We need to go into more detail”.
Is it very different to last year?
“On one side, they are similar, but this is better in other ways. They've done well”.
What have you tested in terms of the chassis?
“I started with the Malaysia frame and later today I'll test the evolution, as I did in Thailand. It will be important to have information at what is a very different track. I want to make a long-run too, to have a better idea about the tyres”.
The first race will take place at this same track, what is the level looking like?
“It's still too early to understand pace, we all still have room for improvement and so it's not the time to make any predictions. The positive aspect is that the times came easily. It's strange because we're all fast, as if were easy to make a good lap. This makes it difficult to assess race pace”.
If we look back twelve months, how different are sensations now compared to then?
"I have better sensations than a year ago, the bike has taken a step forward and I'm pleased with how Ducati has worked up until now . i feel really good with the bike. Last year, I wasn't very confident before the race but then managed the race i the right way, now I know we're in a better position but I don't know about our rivals' level”.
There are still two days of testing to go…
“No-one really likes testing all the material but these tests are fundamental and you can achieve significant results if you work methodically and carefully”.
There is never mention of the Ducati engine…
“We have a very powerful engine and can make the different along the long straights in fifth and sixth gear. In terms of delivery, temperatures have an influence on electronics to a certain extent, but we are less conditioned compared to the past".
Marquez has recently renewed his contract, where are you at?
“We haven't even started talking. Will we do so before the championship starts? It's always difficult to predict what Ducati wants to do (he laughs)”.