Andrea Dovizioso believes his Ducati is more suited to Brno's spectacular, undulating sweeps and confirmed his intention is to race the updated GP15 in Sunday's MotoGP race at Brno.
A new engine and fairing has been made available to the Italian at the Czech Grand Prix and although he had just three laps to put the new machine through its paces on Friday, Dovizioso feels it could be a realistic option come race day.
Despite an afternoon fall in the soaring afternoon temperatures, the Italian ended the day fifth fastest as both he and team-mate Andrea Iannone sat closer to leaders Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.
When asked to clarify the positives of Ducati's updated machine, Dovizioso said, “More power. We only did three laps, and we never did a good lap time, but because everything wasn't 100% for the lap, but with the laps we did today, I hope tomorrow everything will be normal and ready.”
The 2004 125cc world champion continued “I hope [to race the new machine]. Today wasn't great, wasn't 100%, we have to try tomorrow. I think if we can prepare the bike, the pace will be like the old one, we can adjust positive things, so I hope so.”
In the afternoon both Dovizioso and Iannone were four kmph faster than the next quickest machine. The more experienced Ducati man was relieved to see Ducati closer to the front when compared to the last three rounds.
“In speed, compared to the last three races, we are much closer. Also this afternoon on my best lap, I didn't make a really good lap time, and also lap with a race tyre. [I'm] Happy about the speed, but then it is difficult to manage the track, because there are too many bumps and the grip is not so high, so there were a lot of crash, because it's very difficult to feel the limit.
“You can push, you can understand easy that the situation is not the best, but is very difficult to feel when you go over the limit. My crash was a little bit strange, I didn't expect to crash in that point, in that angle, it was quite strange. But it was just to confirm that nobody can push really a lot for the conditions we had. And will be a great problem to work on the details of the race, because it's very difficult to do 22 laps consistently in these conditions.
“And with the speed we have, we are in a good situation to work on those details. We tried the new engine and the new fairing. Unfortunately, we didn't do too many laps, because it wasn't anything perfect, but it was important to try to be ready tomorrow to try to make more laps with the new bike, and it's interesting to compare.”
Like many riders, Dovizioso complained of the feeling with the harder front Bridgestone tyre. He feels the fact riders preferred the feeling offered by the medium in afternoon track temperatures that surpassed 50 degrees, demonstrates the issues with the hard compound.
“About the grip, is low but is low for everybody, and is the same like every time in this track. Also because the asphalt become worse but the characteristic remain the same, it was already like this for many years. So no, I think we are OK about the rear, we compared today the 38 (hard front) and 33 (medium front), but didn't work well the harder tyre.
“I think also this is the confirmation about the grip of the track. We had to use a medium tyre with a lot of temperature, and here the braking is very important, when you brake also with angle, so you need the support from the hard tyre, but it didn't work, because with the asphalt, the stiff rubber and stiff casing didn't work.”
Despite the initial impressions of increased speed with the updated machine, Dovizioso was also quick to quash talk of the bike bringing about an instant upturn in results.
“Absolutely not,” he replied when asked if the machine could return him to the podium. "Because first about the engine, the fairing is not what we need to improve our limit. Sure something can help, so we can have some advantage with the new parts, but it's not that which can give you the consistency in the race, and control, or improve the bike in turning or about the grip of the rear, no. About that no, but with the bike we finish in Indianapolis, our feeling is better here compared to Indianapolis and other tracks, so that's why I am happy about the speed we had, happier than the last two races. We are closer, so sure it's a big help to us.”