Andrea Dovizioso says he is 'really happy' to be starting the MotoGP Grand Prix of Spain from the second row of the grid after impressing in Jerez on a day when Ducati generally struggled.

Easing into the crucial Q2 phase, Dovizioso was the only Ducati rider to reach it that far, the Italian making the most of his position to set a best lap of 1min 39.1secs, placing him on the second row in sixth place alongside Valentino Rossi and Aleix Espargaro.

For Dovizioso, the chance to start near the front of the grid could be crucial around the relatively small Jerez circuit, even if the CotA podium winner admits he is surprised to see such a substantial gap between the 'top four or five' compared with the rest of the field.

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"I am really happy about my sixth position on the second row," he said. "The track is very difficult at the start and for the first few laps because it is very tight, so it is important not to lose too much time in the first few laps.

"I am happy with my lap time in the qualifying because a 1min 39.1secs with this hot temperature is very good for us. To start near the front will be one of the key points for the race.

"The pace is quite strange though. The first four or five riders are on a different level. After that, there is a big group and I think we are there but it is strange and I don't understand why there is a big difference between the top five and others.

"Sixth position is really positive for us. My feeling with the Ducati and the lap time, when you try to make the lap time, is good. When I want to do a good lap time, I can, which is nice to feel."

Reflecting on the much discussed topic of tyres on a weekend where temperatures have been particularly high, Dovizioso says the smoother, more consistent riders stand to gain come race day.

"The race will be difficult because the drop of the tyre in this temperature is unbelievable and makes a difference to the feeling at the front. I think everybody had a problem with the feeling at the front because it is too soft so nobody is able to push really hard at the front. Whomever is smooth and consistent will make a difference in the race."