Andrea Dovizioso believes he and several others are just behind the pace of the three quickest riders at the Sachsenring, but remains optimistic despite struggling – “but it’s nothing more than we expected.”

The Italian attempted to shrug off the turning issues that hamper the Ducati through the Sachsenring’s long, arching bends, and have done so during his entire time with the Bologna factory.

But there were positives. Aside from Marc Marquez, Alex Rins and Fabio Quartararo, Dovizioso believes he is in the mix and is confident he and his team “have some ideas” to lessen the effects of his current issues.

“We are struggling like we expected in the middle of the corners,” said the 33-year old, who finished FP2 with the ninth fastest time. “I followed some competitors and still we are not doing enough. It’s not easy because the grip at this track is not enough, especially when you put a new tyre in.

“It’s very important in the way you ride because you have to be really smooth and you can’t really use the grip to be fast. We’re struggling a little bit. But nothing more than what we expected.

“[The turning issue] can’t change because it’s in the DNA of our bike. In some tracks you suffer less because the layout gives us the possibility to use the good point of our bike. But the turning never changes. It’s normal.

“The practice wasn’t too bad. I think the position didn’t show the reality. We will see tomorrow. Friday is one day. Normally when you have a full Saturday everything can change. We have some ideas.

“At the end of practice there were some slow riders and when I was pushing I felt some pain in the back so I had to slow down. So the lap time [could be better] but it’s OK, because tomorrow in the condition I expect to improve it.

“We will see. At this moment Marc, Rins and Quartararo are really fast. Apart from these three riders still we are in the group.”

Asked to expand on what he saw when he followed certain rivals through the day, Dovizioso pointed to Valentino Rossi’s pace and speed at the start of FP2 as noteworthy.

“Valentino was really fast. He didn’t make a lap at the end of the practice but at the beginning he was really fast. In the way that he rode it’s really for the race. Quartararo and Rins were really quick in practice.

“It’s really good to follow other riders because you can understand a lot of things especially during practice. It’s more clear where you have to look.

“But it’s not nice to follow Yamaha and Suzuki in a track like this because you can’t make the same speed in the middle of the corners and you can’t use an advantage of the acceleration that you have.

“Sometimes it’s worse because when I’m able to follow you become more aggressive in your riding. You have to be really calm, smart and don’t be angry at that moment because everything can become worse.”

On the back pain he suffered during FP2, Dovizioso gave nothing away: “Yes, [an accident] before Assen but nothing bad.”

A motocross accident?

“[Just] Training!”

 

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