In recent years Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati have come to relish the wet conditions encountered at Valencia on Friday. Yet the Italian was left perplexed by a lack of performance in FP1 and FP2, describing his feelings as “very bad.”

Dovizioso lacked any feel with the rear of his GP18, which prevented him from cornering as he wanted. And while he ended the day fourth on the combined timesheets, his distant twelfth place in FP2 was more in tune with the feedback he received from the bike.

“Today the feeling was quite bad on the bike,” he said. “The same feeling I had this morning, I had in the afternoon when the water was different. I don’t think it’s about how much water is on the track.

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“I think if we are able to understand and improve the bike we can be more competitive in both conditions. The feeling was very bad. It’s strange because we expect a better speed. But we have to study and analyse. Still we don’t know.

“The only things this season we didn’t ride the bike in the wet a lot. in this season we changed quite a bit the balance of the bike. So we have to understand and study because in the past in every track our level in the wet from the beginning was good.

“It didn’t happen today. I’m not too worried. We have to analyse, to study and make some changes.”

During a wet qualifying session at Sepang, Dovizioso had complained of a lack of feel from the front tyre. The Michelin rubber was too hard for those particular conditions, he said. Was there a similar feeling here?

“No, the limit here was the rear, not the front,” he said. “Fortunately we already compared the soft and medium front and both tyres are good. So we have the possibility to use the medium in heavy rain, like today.

“For sure the water will be less [on Sunday]. This is very positive. But it wasn’t the limit. The limit was the rear. But this was the feeling. So…”

Pressed to specify where he lacked feel, Dovizioso added, “I didn’t enough feeling on the rear to release the brake and make the speed in the middle of the corner. It didn’t happen something very bad, because the grip was good.

“The asphalt has a good grip. It’s about feeling. It’s about having a good feeling to make the right line, release the brake and make the speed. But it wasn’t good like usual.”

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