Andrea Dovizioso attempted to place a positive spin on the first day of MotoGP free practice at the Circuit of the Americas despite placing outside the all-important top ten.

The Italian was stranded in eleventh place at the close of FP2, a result that could leave him scrambling in Saturday afternoon’s Q1 session due to heavy rain forecast in the morning.

But Dovizioso, who has scored a first and a third place in 2019’s two outings to date, was content with his pace on a used rear tyre in the afternoon, and feels “we are not too far” in that respect.

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“It was tough,” said the 33-year old, referencing the notorious track surface at the Circuit of the Americas that caused all riders some discomfort on Friday. “Not easy.

“But I think [it was like this] for everybody. At the end the temperature was OK, the conditions were OK, but the track is not the best. It’s one of the best tracks in our championship but it’s become one of the worst.

“You can’t ride the bike in a normal way. You have to follow the bump more than the line. This is the same for everybody. We have to find a way. This morning we had a small problem, so we did less laps.

“Apart from that in the afternoon the feeling wasn’t too bad. Before we put the new tyre we started with the used tyre from the morning, and at the end of my run I did 2m 5.3s. It was quite good.

“About the speed, the race pace we are not too far. But unfortunately I did a mistake with the front tyre when I put the new rear. I used the medium, but I lost the front many times and still we have to find our balance. I think we’re closer than last year, a bit better.

“But we’re always struggling here. We have to stay calm. Unfortunately we’re not in the top ten, but it’s just the lap time, not because our pace is bad. I saw the two Yamahas really competitive. Jack is competitive. Marc is how I expected.

“It will rain tomorrow, that’s the bad part. But we have to think in a positive way. Maybe it can help us be more ready in Q2, if we’re ready to go in Q2.”

In previous years Dovizioso has noted how Ducati’s Desmosedici machine has lost valuable ground when entering fast, technical sections of track that do not require braking. At the Circuit of the Americas there are plenty of those occasions.

Has the GP19 taken a step forward in that regard? “No, the characteristics, the DNA is the same,” he said. “Like I explained, we are a bit more balanced. Our bike works a bit better. We are a bit better everywhere.

“We didn’t make a huge difference from last year. That gives us the possibility to be closer. I think our pace before the new tyre wasn’t too far from the fastest. Also Jack is fast so we improved from last year. But there is a lot of riders with good speed so it will be tough.”

Several riders, including Aleix Espargaro and team-mate Danilo Petrucci stated the Circuit of the Americas is no longer up to world championship level due to the bumps.

Dovizioso, however, felt labelling the track “dangerous” was going too far. “Dangerous in these conditions, to say dangerous is maybe too much. For example this morning the temperature wasn’t too low, but it was difficult to warm up the tyre. I felt it was a bit dangerous, but just the first exit.

“After that it wasn’t really dangerous. I don’t think it’s the way to make MotoGP. We have to push a bit more in the Safety Commission to understand the future. We don’t take the decision about that.

“But I don’t think there is a possibility to improve the situation, but this is my opinion. So this means a big investment. Very big. That’s the limit, I think.”

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