Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso turned in an emotional performance during qualifying at Mugello, the Italian manufacturer’s home track, posting an inspired final lap in the Q2 session that put him on the front row for tomorrow’s TIM Italian Grand Prix.
Making the Italian’s accomplishment even sweeter was the fact that following a hard fall yesterday, he hadn’t been sure if he’d be able to ride, due to a sore neck.
However, thanks in part to intensive physiotherapy, he managed to record the third-best time, achieving his second front-row qualifying performance in a row.
Thanks to a strong ride in FP3, Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro made it into the Q2 session for the first time, and the Italian will start the race from the tenth spot on the grid.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 3rd (1:47.628): “It feels incredible to make it onto the first row at Mugello, especially as a Ducati rider! It was one of my goals, but I still can’t believe it, particularly after yesterday’s crash. The Clinica Mobile and my physiotherapist did a really good job of making my neck feel better, which gave me the opportunity to push hard in qualifying.
It still bothers me, but I can push at almost 100%, and because yesterday I didn’t even know if I’d be able to race, I’m very happy. We worked really well this morning, improving the setup a little, and I was pretty fast this afternoon, but when the tyres wear a little our pace isn’t good enough to fight for the podium. Anyway, we’ll try to do our best to get a good result tomorrow for Ducati and all our fans.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 8th (1:48.006): “Today didn’t go as well as I had expected, and I’m not happy to be eighth. I was almost a half-second faster in qualifying here last year, and I was also better in the test we did here a month ago. I haven’t been able to get the grip I need to make the bike turn.
Both ends are moving around a bit at the apex, and I’m getting pumping on the exit. The bike was improved for qualifying, but I still wasn’t able to do a good enough lap to get on the first two rows. We just need to see where I can improve and try to do something better tomorrow.”
Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team, 10th (1:48.564): “I’m happy to have taken part in Q2, which seemed almost like a Saturday race! However, I don’t think I took advantage of the extra grip that the new tyre can give this bike in qualifying, like Dovizioso did. All in all, I’m quite pleased to have been pretty fast and consistent in all the sessions. That means that the new bike is starting to improve, and that we’ve taken a step forward from Jerez.”