Runner-up in the opening three races, Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati are riding the crest of a wave heading into the first European event of the MotoGP season at Jerez.

The Italian is just six points from Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and the world championship lead and unsurprisingly expects far better than the fifth place and 27-second deficit to victory one year ago.

"Jerez is one of the toughest tracks for Ducati and for me, especially because of the heavy tyre wear," Dovizioso said, "but the results of the first three races make me feel optimistic because it seems that the GP15 goes really well at every circuit, which confirms the fact that we are working well. I'm going to Jerez convinced that we can also obtain a good result in this race."

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Team-mate Andrea Iannone starts his first European event as an official Ducati Team rider with his first MotoGP podium in the bag, and having got within one corner of a second rostrum last time in Argentina.

Add-in a fifth place in Texas and the young Italian is an impressive third in the world championship standings after 3 of 18 rounds.

"Jerez is a circuit where I have already won a race in 2011 in Moto2, and it's a track I really like," he said. "There are going to be a lot of fast competitive riders and so for sure we are going to have to work to our best to exploit all the potential of the team and the bike. It's not going to be an easy weekend, but we have the potential to do well and I'm going to try my hardest as always."

Ducati is one of the factories that benefit from the Open class concessions, however this also excludes them from using the hardest rear tyre.