Off the podium for the last three rounds, the Ducati GP15s of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone began the Indianapolis MotoGP holding third and fourth places during Friday practice.

Both fitted the soft Open class soft rear tyre towards the end of the afternoon to set their quickest times, which put Dovizioso 0.295s and Iannone 0.306s from the top.

But Iannone had been second during the midway stage of the session, while Dovizioso insisted his race pace on the medium rear was comparable to all but Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.

"I am quite happy. The first two riders are very fast, but in terms of the others our pace is quite good, even though we still have a few problems," Dovizioso said.

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"I'm not 100 percent happy in braking and we have a big vibration for example at turn seven. Very strange. I lost the front when I did my best lap time.

"We have a few problems everywhere, not big, but that is why we are so far from the top two riders. So we have margin to improve for sure and the pace at the front was very fast today.

"We have to believe a podium is possible on Sunday."

Iannone wasn't as pleased, having struggled with a lack of front-end feeling as the grip level went up in the afternoon.

"I'm not really happy. I went one-second better but I'm not so happy with my pace for the race," he said. "This morning I had a good feeling, the track was a bit slippery but better than last year. This afternoon the grip improved but the feeling with the front was different. At every corner the front 'closed' and the feeling was less. I want to check and focus with my team on this because it is important for the pace."

Iannone also played down the significance of the soft rear tyre.

"The soft tyre is different [to the medium] only on the left side and otherwise is the same so I did not improve a lot. Only two tenths."