Italy's Andrea Dovizioso struggled with front tyre feel as the factory Ducati star finished eighth at Jerez after being forced to work hard to outshine CRT frontrunner Aleix Espargaro.

Dovizioso eventually gained the upper hand over the Power Electronics Aspar rider to take eighth behind team-mate Nicky Hayden, but admitted afterwards that the weekend turned out to be more challenging than he had anticipated.

"I knew it would be a hard weekend, but it was more difficult than I expected, especially the race.

"For sure the front tyre wasn't suited to these conditions, but we shouldn't complain too much because this is our gap at the moment," said Dovi.

"Anyway, I don't want to find excuses because I didn't ride as I wanted to today, while Nicky interpreted the track better.

"Tomorrow will be an important test to try the parts that [Michele] Pirro raced with today, and I'm confident."

Ducati test rider Pirro finished 11th behind Bradley Smith on an 'experimental' GP13, only losing tenth place to Smith four laps from the finish.

"Honestly, considering how I was doing until the halfway point, I thought I could've stayed with [Andrea] Dovizioso, but I eventually found myself in a battle with [Aleix] Espargaro," he said.

"I made some small mistakes and lost some time. In the end, I lost the feeling with the front tyre and also a bit of acceleration on corner exit.

"It's a shame because we had the potential to finish in the top ten.

"It was my first real race on a MotoGP bike, and it wasn't easy because I didn't want to make mistakes," added Pirro.

"Now we can focus on my next race at Mugello, where I hope to do better.

"I'd like to thank Ducati for having given me this opportunity."



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