Andrea Dovizioso moved to play down any controversy in the wake of Q2, a session in which title rival Marc Marquez expertly used his tow to claim a brilliant pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, saying “it’s not a big problem.”

The Ducati rider, who qualified eight places behind the reigning world champion in ninth, almost came into contact with Marquez in the early stages of Saturday’s dramatic qualifying session as well, but made little of it.

Marquez went on to say it was “my feeling” that Ducati had attempted to upset his rhythm due to Michele Pirro continually following him during his first Q2 run. His decision to use Dovizioso as a tow was born out of this. “[My] Strategy was created by them, not by us,” he said.

Dovizioso, however, did not want to court further controversy. “It's a bit strange,” he said of Marquez's tactics. “On the first lap, I had the medium rear, so I wasn't so fast. He was behind me and he caught me, and he didn't want to lose time, so he overtook me really on the limit.

“But it's OK. I don't know, but from that moment, I saw him looking at me, and he followed me in the second run, I don't know why. He did that, but it's not a big problem, he can do what he wants.

“[It was] No problem. I don't understand why he followed me, but he did the pole position, so he did the right thing.”

On an eventful day, which saw him qualify for Q2 via a last-gasp lap in Q1, Dovizioso continued, “It depends, because also this morning we couldn't get into the top ten.

“Also in the afternoon my speed was good, but a lot of riders are really fast. So I don't know what to expect from Q1. And I'm happy because in FP4, my feeling improved a little bit, and then in Q1 again, and that is very important. I did a 1m 46.2s and Q1 was really fast, so I was happy about that.

“In Q2, unfortunately I have just one soft rear, because I used a lot of soft tires, so I did just the second tire and I pushed really hard. But unfortunately we stopped and go too many times in the preparation of the fast lap, and I wasn't 100 percent ready to use the maximum potential of the bike and the tyres and I did some mistakes.

“I did a 1m 46.2s again, so in the end the feeling was quite good, I could have made a 1m 45.9s, 1m 46.0s.

“So at the end, the feeling for the race is not so bad. We are in the top group. Unfortunately we start a little bit further back and on the left side of the straight, so it's not the best position.

“But we will see which kind of start we can do tomorrow. There is a big question mark about the rear tire. The situation is a bit strange, because the consumption looks much bigger than in other years. So I don't know if it's the reality.

“So we have to think which is the priority, to finish the race with good speed, or to have a good speed at the beginning. So we still have to decide that. I'm a bit worried about the consumption, but I think we are in the group to make a good race.”

Asked for his thoughts on how Sunday’s race will pan out, the double MotoGP runner-up offered, “I think tomorrow nobody will push at 100% from the beginning. I think everybody will struggle a little bit with consumption.

“And the Mugello track is very difficult for the physical side, so the two things will come together at the beginning. Everybody will push, but I don't think at 100%.

“[It] Looks like the options are all three tyres. Because last year we raced with the soft we have this year. So it's a bit strange, it's difficult to understand exactly the reaction of the tyres.

“[It] Looks like the consumption of the soft is higher than last year, so this means the track is different. And also the speed is much faster than last year for everybody. So I don't know, I really don't know. Everybody can race with all three tyres.”

 

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