On Friday morning it was more than a damp track and the loss of valuable track time that had Andrea Dovizioso worried. The recurrence of an old neck injury was a concern for the Ducati rider as he placed 13th on the first day of MotoGP Free Practice at Mugello.
The Italian, who recently signed to stay with Ducati for two years beyond 2016, tweaked an old injury that has given him problems since 2005 in the morning, meaning he couldn't turn his head sufficiently.
“Unfortunately it wasn't the best start today,” said Dovizioso, who was 1.12s slower than team-mate and overall pace setter Andrea Iannone in FP2.
“I had a problem with my neck. It's not something new. I have this problem from 2005, when I crashed in 250. Sometimes it can happen, and this morning when I put the helmet on, I felt something, and my neck locked. It's a problem to be on the bike, because I can't turn my head to look back.
“But fortunately we improved the situation for the afternoon, and I was able to ride. Not in the best way, my speed wasn't so good, but it was important to have feedback for tomorrow morning.
“Sure there will be more grip tomorrow morning for everybody, and I think it will be more normal. Tomorrow will be important to start with a good speed. And also, I didn't put a new tyre in at the end like most of the riders. So my position is not the best.”
This was not the first time during a race weekend that the problem occurred. The 30-year old explained how a similar situation occurred three years before. On that occasion, Dovizioso was able to race “in a good condition.”
“That is the problem. Every time it happened, I never found something that was able to fix it very quickly. It happened also in 2013 here on Friday morning, in a crash. But fortunately, though I struggle a lot, I arrived in the race in a good condition to push. So I hope it will be like this.”
“From 2005 I live with this problem every day. Also every time when I go to sleep, I am thinking about that. But fortunately, this kind of limit, it only happened six, seven times, not more. But I don't have the control about that. I feel OK.
“Normally when I crash, it most of the time happen, also at Le Mans, I had that. It was a little bit different, but the week after Le Mans I had a big problem. I did all the therapy, I have a really good person at home working that. But it's something you can't fix, it will be always like this for ever.”