Andrea Dovizioso feels the final grid for Sunday’s MotoGP outing at Jerez does not tell the full story after he salvaged a third row start after a dismal morning showing.

For the second time in 2018, the Italian was forced to navigate a way through the muddy waters of Q1 thanks to a lacklustre showing in FP3. It was then Dovizioso and his crew changed strategy and started anew.

The improvements were immediate. FP4 showed the 32-year old to have a pace worthy of a top six place in tomorrow’s race, with the fitting of Ducati’s aerodynamic fairing a big positive.

From a position of peril, it appears the 2017 runner up can rack up yet more solid points at a track that is far from his favourite. Eighth place on the grid is not ideal, he said, but the feeling – and his confidence - had crucially returned.

“I’m happy because we improve a lot the situation from this morning and it was the last chance,” said Dovizioso. “I’m happy how we have worked this weekend. We started with one idea but we understood, especially after this morning, it wasn’t right.

“We kept calm and took the right decision. If you start to go in a bad way, it’s difficult to change in the weekend and come back strong and make a good race. I think we’re in that situation.

“Unfortunately we start on the third row; this is the only negative point. I did a mistake on my fastest lap in turn six and it didn’t give me the possibility to make the first row. In Jerez it’s very important to start on the first or second row, but also last year I started on the fifth row and I finished fifth."

“Still there is the chance to get in the right position from the start. Let’s see because it’s not so easy to understand the pace of the competitors. For sure there are others with a good pace, but always the race is different.

“I think we will find different conditions. It will be hotter and windy, especially in Jerez it changes a lot. We have to be ready in that relation.”

Like Austin, Dovizioso fitted the radical fairing late into the weekend, a move which ultimately bore fruit. Asked whether it had a similar impact to what passed two weeks before, the Italian said, “There it was a different story: the track was bumpy, windy, with no grip - there was a different reason.

“But here the effect was good. Before we came here you always speak about whether to put the fairing or not at the beginning of the weekend but we decided to not put the fairing after the test here in November. There I was really fast about the pace and the best lap. But at the end when we studied the data in the details we saw a different condition than the test. The grip is a little bit less than the test. I couldn’t today or yesterday ride aggressively, like the test.

“We studied all the data from the other Ducati riders and the other riders had the fairing. It was quite clear the way. But it’s always very difficult to make that decision after free practice three because you have one practice and you have to pass through Q1. But we did it the right way and I’m really happy about that.

“We improved the braking and the first part of the entry because here, in Jerez, there is a lot of fast corners where you have to enter without touching the front brake. The fairing helps in that point, always.”