Andrea Dovizioso believes his speed in MotoGP FP1 demonstrated he has the pace to be fighting for the major honours at this season’s Japanese Grand Prix, but was left to bemoan track conditions in the afternoon.

The 33-year old Italian may have lagged some way behind the Yamaha-armada at the close of FP1. But Dovizioso felt strong immediately, with his considerable pace a more realistic representation of his strength.

The afternoon ambient temperatures of just 18 degrees, however, meant he lacked rear grip throughout FP2 no matter which of Michelin’s rear tyre compounds he chose. All of which meant he “couldn’t really work” as hoped.

“I’m quite happy because in the morning we started with really good speed,” began Dovizioso. “We kept the same tyres because we wanted to try different things.

“But in the afternoon we couldn’t work unfortunately because the temperature was so low for everybody and the tyre didn’t work. The rear tyre didn’t work. Also we wanted to try the hard but it was even worse.

“We couldn’t really work in the afternoon – that is the bad part. But we are in the first group. The positive things are I think we have a margin. We didn’t have time and we went in the way we believed.”

The fairly unique stop-and-go nature of the Motegi track layout meant Dovizioso and Ducati had a number of set-up changes in mind for the afternoon. The low temperatures meant this was impossible, however.

Understandably, the two-time MotoGP runner up finds Saturday’s forecase – heavy rain from the early morning – as unwelcome in the extreme. “For sure we have to improve,” he concluded.

“This track is quite unusual. You have to brake straight and that requests different things [from the bike],” he said. “So we have some ideas but we didn’t have time.

“I don’t know if tomorrow we can ride in the dry. So let’s see the conditions. I’m quite happy but for sure we have to improve.”

 

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