Andrea Dovizioso hoped to find himself in a very different condition on Friday of the second Aragon round, but unfortunately the reality is very hard to swallow. The data returned by the combined classification of the first day of free practice is difficult to misunderstand. The four Ducati GP20s on the track are propping up the grid at the moment, with Dovizioso 19th and closely surrounded by Miller, Petrucci and Bagnaia.
A complex situation, which, however, doesn’t destroy the spirit and determination of Dovizioso, who sees the glass half full at the end of the first day of free practice, despite the fact that the stopwatch has little to show for it.
"As I said yesterday I expected to be more competitive and instead the opposite happened - explained Dovizioso with his usual clarity - today the wind did not help us, the Ducati suffers this problem perhaps more than the other bikes, but in any case I think the Honda riders are the strongest right now, they have a better bike than everyone else and they are fast. They have an incredible pace, something unreal. Only the two Suzukis are at a similar level, they are working very well. We haven’t made any progress, we are suffering with the wind and we have some problems with the tyres. In the afternoon I did not ride much on the soft which was a goal of the session. This year with the soft there is more potential but you have to do 23 laps on it. The point is that we have the same speed as a few days ago, while the others have gone further ahead. "
The difficulty is for all the Ducati riders.
"When all the bikes like yours are behind there is a reason, it’s pointless to make excuses. But there is work and work on the track. Jack has adapted quite well, this year he does what it takes to work well for the race. When you don't have good sensations, you work to concentrate on the last session, to get into the top ten. When you don't have the speed you have to do this and use the tyres when you can give everything. Otherwise you risk abusing the tyres and staying out of Q2. Tomorrow morning we have two tyres to play with, but this type of work is done when you are not competitive and you need to have strategy ".
But do you think that what you saw today is the real situation of the Ducati at Aragon?
"It's not the reality. I'm sure Jack, I and Pecco also didn't put on new tyres, so we didn't push hard and we can stay ahead in the standings. Tomorrow I think we can fight to stay in the top ten. But our goal is not that, it is to fight for the top and that's all. We are fighting for positions that are not ours, this is the problem. We have chances of getting into Q2. We didn't do a real time attack, we don't have a benchmark. I could have done the time needed today to stay in the top ten, but tomorrow the track will be faster and I fear that to stay in the 10 we will have to go below 1'48 and I see it hard for us ".
The risk is that there will be a lot of you with Ducatis in Q1. In that case will there be a strategy in your opinion?
"The problem is that without speed you don't even have a strategy. From this point of view you just have to be fast. Now we have only two worries. One is to understand more about the set-up and improve for the race. Two to make the time, the perfect lap. A good lap is not enough in our conditions, you need the perfect lap to be in the top ten and when you don't have good sensations on the bike it's not easy to do it ".
Today a lot of riders experimented with tyres. Why?
"Today everyone worked in the opposite way compared to last week. Those who used softs in the race today made different choices, to try other solutions. Today we saw something bad for us, because a lot of riders were very fast on race pace. The potential of the medium tyres is lower than the soft ones and a lot of riders were very fast with them, we have to be worried about that. The pace that the fastest have scares me. We have better potential, but knowing how to stay with the best is a completely different story. "
Why did some bikes adapt immediately, like the Yamaha in the first few days of last week and then just went down?
"In my opinion the Yamaha is easier to push to the limit right away, it's a type of bike that suffers less from the conditions we found a few days ago here, such as the low temperature. Even if you don't set record times immediately, you have more confidence and you get some margin, but in reality they immediately reach the limit. Our bike is more difficult to take to the limit, but the more laps on a track, the more conditions improve and the easier it is to exploit the true potential of the bike. It’s not something that only happened this weekend, it happens on several tracks to see these progression. They went fast right away, we got there later and we're still getting there now. Then in general we must not dwell on single days. The Honda could also be seen as a surprise, but in reality it has always been strong at Aragon. "
Given the choice today, would you return to the 2019 Michelin?
"I would answer yes, it is clear that we are not getting used to it well and I would go back. But this matters little, there is a single tyre. A decision is made on the tyres to use and you have to adapt. These days do not help morale, but I'm used to it by now. Let's stay calm and keep working. "