Andrea Dovizioso feels he is in a stronger position with the factory Ducati compared to the same point in pre-season MotoGP testing last year, but the Italian says he still needs more from the Desmosedici GP17.
Dovizioso, fifth fastest on Thursday at the Phillip Island MotoGP test behind Alvaro Bautista on the Aspar GP16, remains frustrated by the limitations of the Ducati in cornering – a disadvantage he could see clearly on track after following the Yamaha of Valentino Rossi.
“Now I think we are in a much better situation than last year because in this moment last year still we have a lot of question marks and after we arrived in Qatar, we almost won the race. In this moment last year, we were further away than now, so I'm happy about the position I am in now but I know that what we have now is not enough,” Dovizioso said.
“Today we were focused on the set-up of the bike and I'm happy because we improved from yesterday; the lap time is closer to the fastest riders and the feeling was better. I'm happy with what we tried today but we have the same limit as last year: still in the middle of the corner we are not fast enough and when I follow somebody on the track I can confirm this. I'm happy because the speed is there, we are not so far, but I know we need that improvement to try to fight for the race.”
Dovizioso tested a new Ohlins carbon fork on Thursday but did not have the chance to run Michelin's new rear tyres, which he says he will test on the third and final day of the test on Friday.
“The difference isn't big [Ohlins carbon fork], but it is positive because the fork is lighter, so I'm happy about the work they did and I can confirm that's a new front fork.
“I didn't try any [new Michelin rear tyres] today because we were focused on the set-up and this plan is for tomorrow. The feedback was interesting because I have a better feeling than yesterday and I was closer. Marc [Marquez] and Maverick [Vinales] are in a different planet in this moment in this track and then after them, we are in the second group.”
Dovizioso's fastest lap on Thursday was 1m 29.483s, which was half-a-second outside Maverick Vinales' quickest time.