Andrea Dovizioso has said he needed to steer his Ducati Desmosedici GP machine by sliding the rear wheel to compensate for the lack of feeling offered by the front tyre during the first MotoGP free practice session in Argentina.
Few riders took many risks as it quickly became apparent that track conditions were far from ideal. Indeed Dovizioso's fastest time of the session was some four and a half seconds slower than the circuit record, as the lack of competitive action on the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit left the surface incredibly dirty.
“It was very bad, like last year, but the tyre it is a bit more difficult,” said Dovizioso, who was 0.094s faster than Marc Marquez. “More the front, not the rear. There is no grip on the front. It was like riding in the wet. It was very difficult in every corner - the slow and the fast. The fastest corner was even more difficult because you have to slide with the rear to not crash with the front.
“It's very bad and we were struggling a lot. The lap time was very slow. But this is what we have this year and still the front tyre don't work. We have to see the step of the track this afternoon.”
The Italian continued to explain how the issues with Bridgestone's tyres in 2015 stemmed from the rear, whereas the main issues with Michelin's current batch were with the French firm's front.
Team-mate Andrea Iannone concurred, as he explained he endured several 'near' moments before opting for a more conservative approach at the close of the session.
“It is a really difficult condition,” said iannone, who ended the session 18th overall. “It's very slippery. I have a lot of problems with the front, in every corner close and it's difficult for me to manage this problem.
“In [the] front [tyre] I don't change. I try the soft tyre on the rear but it's impossible for me to push. For this I don't improve. We improve the grip on the rear but reduce the grip on the front so it's a disaster. I risk three or four times going down so I didn't push in the last part of practice.
“I have a lot of problem in the first and second corner. Also in turn six. It's really fast. But I think it's the condition at the moment. Practice-by-practice everything will improve. The grip. Everything.”