After posting Friday’s fastest MotoGP lap time at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, Andrea Dovizioso described himself as “really happy” with his “good feeling from the beginning” of the day’s action.

The 33-year old Italian was just nine thousandths of a second quicker than Jack Miller on Friday at a track which has not always been one of Ducati’s stronger venues.

The day’s running confirmed the strength of Dovizioso’s base setting in low grip conditions, and allowed him to sample with a series of set-up changes.

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“I'm really happy about that,” said Dovizioso. “Because last year and the year before we struggled a lot, I struggled a lot in this track. But our base is better than last year, I am really happy about that. Our bike is a bit different compared to last year.

“So I’m happy to confirm that, happy to have a good feeling from the beginning, and already this morning, I felt really good. I was able to be consistent when the tyre dropped, that's the main thing. So really happy.

“At the end we put a new tyre, like everybody except for Marc in the second practice, and I did a good lap time, that was important. Nothing crazy. I don't think it's enough.

“We have to improve a little bit still, but we are there about the pace, apart from the fast lap. So really happy about the first day, but still we have to improve a little bit.

“I think the improvement is more here, because last year we did a step in the middle of the season. So that's why the bike is very different from last year. That's why the bike is not too different from the last race. So that's why I think our base is much better than last year.

“It was a surprise, but first position is not important, especially when we are very close. So that is not the point. It's good to be in the top ten.

“I think tomorrow the track will be faster, and I don't know if my lap time will be enough to be in the top ten. It's important for that, but not for thinking about the podium, which is our goal.

“The grip is very low, like every year. This is the characteristic of this track, front and rear. So everyone is struggling with that, so you have to play with that. So it's very difficult.

“Because when you want to be faster, normally you put more intensity, but you are not able to do that at this track. So it's difficult to find a good balance and be really fast in the middle of the corners.

“But our base is good, so I was able to have a good lap time without pushing a lot, and that gave us the possibility to work on some set-up and we were able to improve the feeling a little bit the feeling. But still the grip on the rear is not a lot.

“And we have to try to improve a little bit. We have to wait for tomorrow, because I think there is still a margin to improve the bike, improve the lap time, so we have to see who is able to do that.

“But no, I don't think so. Also because normally the tyre consumption here is less than Qatar.”

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