Andrea Dovizioso admits there is a 'big question mark' over whether or not Bridgestone's hard rear tyre will last the 25-lap distance in Sunday's Argentina MotoGP.
The Ducati rider doesn't have access to the extra-hard compound made available to the Factory class riders at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit and Dovi, who will start from sixth on row two, says it will be critical to ride smoothly to preserve tyre life.
“In the race we will see how it will be after the 25 laps. We don't have something special to do but we have to ride smooth,” he said.
“This is the way to use less tyre. It's always difficult this track. It's really important the start. Nobody have a big margin to gain or recover the gap. Anyway I think we can stay at the front, hopefully to the end.
“We have the speed and that is really important. I'm really happy with the feeling on the bike and for the race. But there is a big question mark with the consumption of the rear tyre for 25 laps,” Dovizioso added.
“It looks like the Factory [Honda and Yamaha] will use the [extra-hard] rear tyre. We never know if is advantage or disadvantage. In any case I'm happy with the speed. We did everything we could. We have to see if we are smooth enough in the race to keep a good rear tyre.”
Dovizioso, who said the track conditions on Saturday were difficult due to the higher temperatures, was surprised by his lap time after making a few errors on his quickest lap.
“It's a little worse but it's for everybody. Everybody has to switch the front tyre and use the hardest because in this temperature you brake with a lot of angle so it's hard for the front tyre,” he said.
“I'm surprised with the lap time I did. I didn't brake in the right place and I didn't make the speed I was able to do in the fast corner. But the lap time is close without my best lap.
“The important thing now is to make a good start and to not lose time at the beginning.
“I am satisfied with the work that we have done, because we arrived in FP4 both competitive and fast and we even managed to improve a little.
"We also did a comparison run of the two front tyres available and in this heat the hard one goes a bit better," he added.
"Only in the race will we really see what the pace is, but above all who will manage to be consistent for the whole 25 laps.”