“The Ducati has made the progress I expected at Assen, perhaps even more than I expected”, Dovizioso can smile after day one of action in Holland. Having come to terms with the Barcelona mistake, Andrea has got off on the right foot. So much so that his rivals cite him as one of the favourites for Sunday's race.
“From what I've seen today, I'd agree with them, but I also know that tomorrow a lot can change in the remaining two sessions. Marquez was fast today and didn't change tyres. The Yamahas are also better than usual, both in terms of the flying lap and pace. Petrucci is strong too”.
A great group of riders, with whom Dovi can do battle.
“My pace is in line with that of the strongest, around the low 1’34s. Now we just need to sort the final details, like everyone else. I must say that I was particularly fast today”.
Dovizioso will be focusing on the tyres, particularly the rear.
“We have a lot to study and understand. We're all at the limit with the front, on the left side, I was strong even on used tyres at the rear, but there's a drop”.
Tyre behaviour is different to how it was last season though.
“Essentially, they have less grip. So you can't use the rear like in the past, through every phase, from corner entry to exit.Managing the tyres is complicated now, the bike requires different balance, and that's something we need to work on. It's not easy to control the wheelieing, I'm not 100% happy in that area”.
Both Iannone and Vinales lapped below the lap record today, "because conditions were good, not cold or wet, and this allowed us to work normally, which is unusual at Assen” . But it's interesting that Rea, with the Kawasaki SBK, set a qualifying time in line wih that of the quickest MotoGP bikes today.
“Thanks to their qualifying tyre, at a track like this where high speed is needed through the corners, it's not strange that the SBKs can be competitive. But we're talking about the flying lap, there's no comparison with the MotoGPs when it comes to race pace."