Andrea Dovizioso spared the official Ducati team's blushes as he qualified an impressive fourth when using Michelin's harder rear tyre before stating that managing the spinning of the rear will be the “key” to Sunday's race.
As team-mate Andrea Iannone struggled to a fourth row starting slow, the factory Ducati teamsters were in danger of being upstaged by Hector Barbera's satellite Avintia GP14.2 in the closing moments of MotoGP qualifying.
Yet Dovizioso climbed to head the second row in the dying moments, and the Italian believes there will be riders that have impressed throughout free practice and qualifying that won't be as prevalent in the race results.
“I'm really happy about the position,” said Dovizioso. “In Jerez it's always difficult to start in the first two rows. It's difficult to find a free track and I was worried about that. But we work in the right way this weekend. The bike improve a little bit and I was able to be smooth and the lap time recovered."
Dovizioso's time was all the more impressive as it was posted on hard rear rubber, due to an inability to extract a decent feeling from the soft.
“The first one was soft and then I decided to use the hard because in FP2 and FP3 I didn't a have good feeling with the soft. Everyone did a lap time with the soft so I tried it again in the first run. It was good the tyre but not as good as the hard and was not how I expected. [I will] Race the hard tyre.”
Although unable to foresee a podium challenge barring bad luck befalling one of either Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo or Marc Marquez, Dovizioso was adament that managing the wear of the rear tyre around a track that offers next to grip will be paramount to the eventual result.
“The first three riders have a different pace. Always in this track, 27 laps is a really long race and the drop of the rear tyre is so high. The speed everyone showed in practice, I don't think will be the reality for all the race and the final result. That will be about who works in a better way for the consumption.
“It's the key tomorrow. The spin on the rear is so high, it's unbelievable. At the beginning no, it's quite easy to do a good lap time but after some laps it drops a lot. 27 laps is a lot. In the race it's always worse than the practice.
“In this moment no, there is too much difference. But like I say, it depends how all the riders will manage the tyres. It's not like the past, [when] if you have some pace in the practice it's easy to do in the race. It's not like this. This year with Michelin everything can happen. We don't have the speed of the first three but we have to keep our mind open to any changes that could happen.”