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Mugello: Dovizioso neck pain, Hayden fourth

31 May 2013

A heavy lowside at the end of this morning's damp free practice session at Mugello has left Andrea Dovizioso nursing a neck injury for Ducati's home round.

Dovizioso fell roughly at the first corner just three minutes from the end of FP1, and the resultant sore neck put his participation in the afternoon session in doubt.

“I made a mistake in turn one, which was the wettest corner,” explained Dovi. “I came in a bit wide, but I wanted to try to stay on the asphalt. I was going pretty fast and lost the front, and I started to tumble in the gravel; I twisted my neck, and it definitely had an effect on my micro-hernia.”

With the help of the circuit's medical staff and the Clinica Mobile, Dovizioso was able to ride in FP2. Though far from fully fit, the Italian managed to do fifteen laps, finishing in seventh place.

“I'm really happy that I was able to do the second session because I really didn't think I'd be able to ride,” confirmed Dovizioso. “It's not that what happened to me was so terrible, but it's problematic for the riding position. I can't tilt my head back, so I'm not able to look ahead when I'm tucked on the straightaway or turn my head in the middle of the corners.

“I must thank Dr Costa and the Medical Centre for doing what they could to help me to ride, because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to do it. My physiotherapist, Francesco Chionne, helped a lot as well. Let's hope the situation doesn't get worse, because I'm at the limit with being able to ride. Despite that, I'm pleased with the time.”

Team-mate Nicky Hayden finished the day the as the leading Ducati rider, in fourth place. However he was over one-second behind Jorge Lorenzo, who led an all-Yamaha top three.

“In the end, the position isn't bad, but the gap to the front is large,” said Hayden. “I expected to have a better feeling with the bike, especially with grip in the middle of the corner; both ends were moving a bit, so I couldn't really turn well at the apex.

“Maybe some of it's down to the track being 'green' but that's the same for everybody. We'll see what the weather does tomorrow. Every bit of track time is valuable.”

Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro enjoyed a promising opening day aboard the Desmosedici GP13 laboratory bike. Taking part in his third race in a row, the wild-card was second in the morning session and ran third midway through the afternoon, before being pushed down to tenth.

“It was a pretty positive day,” said the Italian. “We were very competitive on the rain tyres this morning, when I was second.

"In the dry this afternoon, I did almost the entire session in the top six. When we put on new tyres, I had a bit of trouble with the front brakes and wasn't able to do the time I was capable of in order to be a bit further up.

"Anyway, we're gathering data and tomorrow we hope to improve the pace and make another step forward. We're ready for any condition, so we'll see what happens.”


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