Andrea Iannone believes he is well positioned to start the 2016 MotoGP campaign strongly after placing an encouraging third in the first free practice session at Qatar.
Like his countryman and team-mate, Iannone feels Ducati's new Desmosedici GP already has a strong base, a facet he spent Thursday evening confirming before planning to make more considerable adjustments a day later.
For periods of the first free practice session of the new season, Iannone was the only man able to lap near early pace setter Jorge Lorenzo's best, something which he feels underlines his potential for his fourth season in the premier class.
“I think we have a really good possibility to [make] a great start,” said Iannone. “It's really important for us to start in this way. The feel with the bike is really good. The Yamaha is really strong. Jorge, Vale… For sure, Honda and Suzuki. Every rider is really close this year. For the first track I am really happy.
“I start with the same bike. Nothing changed. The feeling is completely the same and this is positive because this is a new bike. For sure we wanted to check this in the first practice and tomorrow will start the strong work. We will work on the tyres for the bike.
“For sure the big work on the test is finished because we focus on this in the test. Now we have a race weekend, the time is close and it's important we focus on the last part. The electronics, a little bit the springs. For sure we won't try a completely different setting.”
As he enters his fourth year in the premier class – and his second in Ducati's factory squad – Iannone stated his aims for the year ahead included improving on his performance from 2015, when he finished fifth overall.
“I want to try the best this weekend, also this year. We improve year-by-year, step-by-step. This is my fourth year in Ducati. I always improve. For sure I want to continue this way.”