MotoGP

Andrea Dovizioso warns Ducati’s Sepang dominance not representative

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Andrea Dovizioso says Ducati’s sweep of the top four positions on the final day of the Sepang MotoGP test is not an accurate reflection of the Italian marque’s current strength.

Dovizioso ended up fourth-fastest on the third and final day of running at Sepang, 0.299s slower than his new factory team-mate Danilo Petrucci, with Pramac pair Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller ending up second and third.

While Ducati had previously suggested it would wait until the final pre-season test in Qatar to try out a refreshed aerodynamic fairing, both Dovizioso and Petrucci were sent out with new bodywork on Friday.

“The feeling with the new fairing is good, I am happy about that,” said Dovizioso.

“We did a good lap time, the track was really fast, a lot of riders did special lap times, it is nice to see.

“Every year we make the test here so we know very well this track and the lap times. To see 1m58s, it’s the first time for me, and I am really happy to see four Ducatis on top, this is nice, and a nice confirmation of our base.

“It doesn’t mean we are the fastest for the race because it doesn’t show the reality, the final result, but I am happy.”

Dovizioso added that Petrucci’s unofficial new record time did not come as a surprise to him, considering the improving condition of the Sepang track over the course of the test.

“We are all surprised at the times we did, but it did not rain for three days and so the track has improved a lot,” he said. “But I’m not amazed at Danilo’s time, because he had shown good speed in the past.

“In this test he worked to figure out where to improve from a race perspective, which is what matters to him right now. He has more potential than what he has shown up to today.”

Petrucci, who crashed with his new fairing on his out-lap and therefore didn’t get chance to sample it properly, likewise downplayed the significance of his lap time, which surpassed the unofficial record set by predecessor Jorge Lorenzo at last year’s test.

“We are okay to be in the top five,” said Petrucci. “I don’t [know] if it is enough for the podium because Valentino [Rossi], if you remember last year’s race, he was absolutely incredible.

“[Alex] Rins is very fast when the conditions are very hot, [Marc] Marquez [there’s] no need to talk [about]. So fighting for the top five is still hard and lap time doesn’t count too much.

“For sure I did a very good lap time but the conditions were good.

“Fortunately the race will be in November, so we have still some time to work, but at the moment the hottest condition is the weakest point for us.”

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