Jack Miller may have been the only Ducati rider in the top nine on the final day of MotoGP pre-season testing in Qatar but fellow GP20 riders Danilo Petrucci, Andrea Dovizioso and Francesco Bagnaia were all buoyed by the results of a race simulation.

The Desmosedicis had been unable to match the long-run form of the top Yamaha (Maverick Vinales), both Suzukis (Alex Rins and Joan Mir) and even the Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro at the previous Sepang test.

While in Malaysia, Petrucci and Dovizioso got significantly slower as the laps progressed and Bagnaia was off the pace throughout, at Losail the trio were still mixing it with the pace of the Petronas Yamahas by the end of their runs.

Petrucci was perhaps the most impressive of the trio, setting his fastest lap of the night with a full tank of fuel at the start of his race simulation. The Italian was only 0.8s slower at the end, with 21-laps on the tyres.

“I am happy about this final day of testing here in Qatar," said Petrucci, despite being only 16th fastest (+0.894s) over a single lap.

"We tried to manage our last session well without focusing on lap times and giving priority to the long run.

"We were able to cover the same distance as the race and to remove the doubts that we still had.

"Now we need to work well during the race weekend to be able to secure a good starting position for the race.

"As we were fast during the race simulation, I am sure that we will be able to be competitive also in the race."

As at Sepang, Dovizioso joined Petrucci on track during the long run, so they could better simulate race conditions.

“I am really satisfied with the work done today," said Dovizioso, winner in Qatar for the past two seasons. "We were able to try different setups that helped us understand that we still have some room left for improvement.

"The most positive aspect of today was the race simulation. With used tyres, I was able to cover the race distance without problems.

"On top of that, I did a few laps behind Danilo, which helped me to understand how to manage better the tyres. My race pace is good, and I am sure that if we can be fast as the front guys, then we will be able to fight for the top positions during the race weekend."

Dovizioso was tenth on the final timesheets (+0.454s) and just ahead of Pramac's Bagnaia, who turned heads by being close to Petrucci's pace after 20 laps.

"It was a test where we improved a lot, in particularly about race pace, I’m sorry for the time attack today, because I found traffic in my best lap," Bagnaia said.

"What makes me happy and confident is the race simulation. For sure we can improve, but after this test I have a clear idea about the race approach and I have more confidence with my bike."

Team-mate Jack Miller was the fastest Ducati in fifth (+0.247s).The Australian didn't put in a full race simulation, but was satisfied with his final run of half-race distance.

"It was a good day, we did two long runs and the second one was better, where I improved my race pace," he said. "With the medium tyres my feeling was much better, we can still improve a lot and I am confident that before GP we will find the answers we are looking for."

All the GP20s now have the ride-height adjuster handlebar switch, an extension of the holeshot device, which allows them to lock the rear of the bike in a lowered position on the exit of corners for better acceleration.



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