Ducati “still missing something”, admits Dovizioso

Ducati isn’t quite ready to compete with its MotoGP rivals for victories on a consistent basis, admits Qatar runner-up Andrea Dovizioso.

Ducati “still missing something”, admits Dovizioso
Second place Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Podium: race winner Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing, second place Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team, third place Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing, Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Podium: second place Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team

The Italian rider was one of the protagonists of the season-opening race last weekend, only narrowly losing out on what would’ve been his second victory for Ducati in an intense battle with Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales.

However, Dovizioso doesn’t believe that the Losail race – traditionally a happy hunting ground for the Desmosedici with its long main straight – can be taken as evidence that Ducati is in for a strong season.

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo struggled on his debut for the Italian marque, only managing an 11th place finish, and the team’s technical boss Gigi Dall’Igna had admitted after the conclusion of winter testing that the team “isn’t yet ready” to fight for the title.

Asked for an assessment of where Ducati stands after Qatar, Dovizioso conceded that the Italian marque needs to make further improvements to fight Yamaha and Honda more regularly.

“I think it's very difficult to set a target or something like this after this race, because it was a strange weekend and especially a strange race,” said the Italian.

“The race was quite slow, and conditions were quite bad. The gaps [between riders at the finish] were quite small, but I don't think that's the reality.

“I think we are quite competitive and on some tracks very competitive like in the past, but still we are missing something and we couldn't change it up to now.

“So we have to improve in some points to really stay with them every weekend. I know how strong they are and they are strong in every condition at every race.”

Lorenzo gets more mileage at Jerez

Ducati chose to use one of its allocation of five in-season test days on Wednesday, as it scheduled a private test for Lorenzo and Dovizioso after test rider Michele Pirro ran on Tuesday.

Lorenzo completed 82 laps, including a short run with the radical aerodynamic fairing first seen in Qatar testing, while Dovizioso turned 51 laps.

Both riders were primarily focused on race set-up at a track where Ducati has historically struggled owing to the low-grip conditions of Jerez, with neither suffering any crashes or other mishaps.

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

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