The progress being made by Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati has been clear throughout the season with last weekend's pole position at Motegi the latest milestone for the Italian.

Making use of the softer tyre in qualifying and the early stages of a Grand Prix has not been an issue for Dovizioso this year, but maintaining that pace has proved impossible.

Speaking exclusively to Crash.net about his prospects at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, Dovizioso commented that the softer qualifying tyre is a help but the true indication of progress has been his pace in the race, when he is often forced to run the same tyres as the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders.

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"The softer tyre is different [to the Honda and Yamaha bikes] but you never know how different," said Dovizioso. "In the race my fastest lap was two tenths from the fastest so about our speed we know that on a new tyre we are really competitive with the same tyre as the Factory.

"But that's not the point, the point is to be faster at the end of the race when the tyre drops because that is our negative point. It's very clear the reason why, we have to keep more angle to make the speed and we use more of the tyre to do that speed. It's normal and it's clear that we can do many things to improve that because the bike has improved everywhere except turn-in and until we improve that we will have this problem."

While Motegi features a succession of slow speed corners with heavy braking Philip Island is the opposite. The Australian circuit features long, sweeping corners where riders are on the edge of the tyre for long periods of time. Dovizioso is confident that Ducati will once again be able to show an impressive turn of speed but with no progress being made on tyre longevity he admits that it's impossible to compete over Sunday's 30 lap race:

"I think that at this track we can be really fast in practice but I think that in the race it will be very difficult because the bike doesn't turn and all the corners are very fast, long corners and I believe that this will be worse than in Japan. The drop off in the rear tyre is very bad for everyone and I think that our situation will be more difficult than at other tracks. In the winter test we were quite fast, so I'm sure that we'll be competitive, but the race will be difficult."

Dovizioso does have the advantage of having tested at Philip Island during the winter but with the test having taken place in early March, the height of the summer in the southern hemisphere, the track conditions were very different compared to the expected weather for this weekend.

Last year the race was forced to include mandatory pitstops because of the dangerous tyre wear exhibited on MotoGP bikes and Dovizioso believes that with 12 months for the track surface to have bedded since being resurface prior to last year's race it will also allow for a much more predictable wear rate:

"It's very different conditions, the temperature was so high at the test but Bridgestone believes that with the lower temperature the soft will be even better but the big difference is how much they have used the asphalt. It has been a year [since the track was resurfaced] and I believe that should be enough so that we don't have a problem during the race."

This weekend Bridgestone will take an asymmetric front tyre for the first time in a Grand Prix. The tyre was tested at the post Brno test, Bradley Smith used the rubber, and with a softer compound on the right hand side it should help riders to have a more stable tyre throughout the weekend:

"I've never tried it but I'm really interested to try it. If we speak just about the rubber it's perfect because we have the soft where we need and we have the hard where need it. We have to understand if the tyre works in the same way as our normal tyre because if this happens the tyre will be perfect for us. I'm really interested to see how it will feel."