Jorge Lorenzo expects to give the new Ducati fairing its race debut in Sunday's Czech Republic MotoGP.

The Spaniard qualified a competitive sixth at the end of his first full day with the downforce development, at Brno on Saturday.

Although he lost a lap time after running marginally wide at the final turn, Lorenzo was just a tenth of a second behind team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in fourth.

"Despite the fact that they cancelled my first time, we did a good qualifying session, and so on my second run I couldn’t risk as much as I would have liked while trying to go for an even quicker time. The second row is OK for me, but the most important thing is that we have a good race pace, as we did at Jerez."

The former MotoGP champion put his strong form down to a combination of factors.

"Brno has been always a good track for me," he explained. "Here I'm starting to make the rear slide more, especially on braking, which I was only doing when I felt really, really confident like in Jerez and Montmelo. That's a good sign. And for sure better front contact, better feeling in most of the corners [from the new fairing] also helps."

The biggest downside of the new generation of 'covered' winglets is the loss of top speed, an issue that saw Ducati's earlier 'hammerhead' design scrapped before it had taken part in a grand prix weekend.

"I didn't use the standard fairing today, so it's difficult to analyse precisely, but I prefer to stay with the new fairing because it gives me front contact, more stability in most of the corners," Lorenzo said.

"Even if I am losing quite a bit on straight compared to Dovi [using the standard fairing this weekend]: On the longest straight he is making 311-312km/h, I'm 305km/h. So 6-7km/h. A lot.

"In 5th gear we start losing and in 6th we lose even more compared to the normal fairing. But also you can accelerated better with this fairing. In 2nd-3rd-4th gear we are a little bit faster in most of the accelerations.

"With the old [2016 external] wings, probably you lost less speed and gained more downforce. It will be difficult to arrive back at that level. But of course the factories are going to try."

Lorenzo intends to race with the new fairing even if the forecast proves correct and rain arrives on Sunday, insisting he feels optimistic should such conditions occur.

"Probably for one of the first times I'm optimistic in case of rain," he said. "I'm confident, even if I prefer a dry race because the possibility to make a mistake and crash is lower. But yesterday I felt safe, fast and consistent in the rain.

"The performance of each bike varies depending on the quantity of water, but I feel prepared because the Ducati gives me very good feeling in these conditions. Even if it were to rain, I think we can fight for the podium."

Pramac's Danilo Petrucci also tried the new fairing today, albeit a slightly bigger version, with three tiers of winglets instead of the two used by Lorenzo. The Italian, who was happy with the fairing in a private Misano test, did not use it again in qualifying.


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