The three-day test in Malaysia also concluded for Andrea Dovizioso. The Ducati man from Forlì this time did not give us any outstanding performance; he finished today in 14th position by more than half a second, but he concentrated on improving the bike step by step, with continuous tests, focusing on race pace. So much so that it is difficult to understand whether this test clarified his ideas.
"There is still nothing clear for the start of the championship, Vinales and Rins seem to be doing better but as we know the race is something else completely, it is difficult to predict anything given the new tyres."
But both you and Marquez have stressed that Rins and Vinales are going well, tests must always be taken with a pinch of salt, but can this have a meaning?
“Absolutely yes, if we look at these three days this is what emerged. They have the pace and we are not far away, the position in the standings counts for little. Marquez is a little bit behind, but he will be there, 100% he’ll be leading the group. What is important is to evaluate the pace after 8/9 laps because when you do two or three runs on the same tyres you can maintain a good rhythm; the difference lies in putting them all together consecutively".
The new bike has moved the limits of Ducati, did you feel anything different on the bike?
"The bike we brought here is the same as in Valencia and Jerez, we have chosen it and that's it. Of course, we can improve but honestly managing the tyres is very important and we can work on that every time we go out on the track. For other improvements, for example on the chassis, it will take time."
What do you think of this tyre?
"Today my sensations with the tyres have improved a lot, it is not easy because they give us more grip, which is generally a good thing, but the way we ride changes a lot and I am suffering a bit in tyre management. They are strange, different tyres, Malaysia is a good track for testing, but conditions are at the limit. We have to do other tests on another track, in Qatar we will try even if it is the last opportunity before the season starts. I have to adapt to the change, which is not a simple change in any case, at maximum lean angle there is not much grip, as for example we have in traction. When entering the corner, the rear pushes the front differently than last year and this can cause problems for us; I'm working on it and I think there is room for improvement. "
Does it change a lot when following a rider?
"Here in Malaysia, we know that there are extreme conditions but the tyre gets very hot if you lap behind another rider, today we did a test of this type with Danilo, let's see if it is a situation just for today or one that we will find throughout the season".
How did your day go today generally?
"I am not riding the way I want, but I am happy today because I was a little bit behind with the work schedule, then this morning we did set-up tests and we got closer. Today was important because in the first two days everyone tried to push hard to find confidence with the new bikes, this morning instead they were looking for pace and you could see that only a few managed to lap at a good pace. Only Miller and I did the best lap with the hardest tyre and I think that’s good news because that's the tyre you do the pace with "
Audio recording by Matteo Aglio