After playing a supporting rather than leading role during the season-opening Jerez MotoGP races, Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati will be aiming to go on the offensive at Brno this weekend.

The triple title runner-up took 3-6 finishes in Spain, around a hot and twisty circuit that has traditionally punished the Desmosedici's lack of turning.

But additional difficulties with the new spec Michelin rear tyre also complicated both weekends for Dovizioso and team-mate Danilo Petrucci, followed by a strange lack of front-end feeling for Dovizioso during the second race.

However, Pramac riders Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller suffered far less, raising eyebrows as they outpaced the factory pair in qualifying for round two and were then the top Ducatis for much of the race.

Indeed, Bagnaia was firmly on course for a podium when he retired from race two due to a smoking failure.

Bagnaia's spectacular burst of form also means he is now not only rumoured to be on course for a new Ducati deal for 2021, but may even have an outside chance of joining Miller at the Official team pending the outcome of the Dovizioso-Ducati negotiations.

All of which, combined with the ongoing absence of reigning champion Marc Marquez, means it will be important for both Dovizioso and Ducati to re-establish themselves as title contenders this weekend, at a track where the #4 took victory in 2018 and was on the podium last year.

But while Ducati will be able to unleash its straight-line strengths at Brno, Dovizioso warned that alone 'won't be enough'.

"Brno is a track that will allow us to take advantage of the strengths of our Desmosedici GP bike, but this won't be enough because we will have to start strong immediately since Friday's free practices," Dovizioso said.

"In Jerez we worked well, improving day by day and now we have to consolidate what we have learned so far in the next three races. It should also not be as hot as in the two Jerez GPs, and I think that too will be on our side.

"I have high expectations from this GP."

Petrucci's Jerez experience began with a massive testing fall, on oil, and ended with a less painful lowside at the hairpin while directly behind Dovizioso during the second race. The Italian, who has a best result of sixth at Brno, believes this weekend will be a true indication of how competitive he and the GP20 can be.

"After Jerez, these three GPs will be key to figuring out if we can be competitive on all circuits," he said. "I can't wait for the next race in Brno to eliminate the unpleasant feeling left by the crash in Jerez.

"All the information we collected in the first two races will help us to start this weekend with some clear aspects. Physically I feel good, and I am confident that I can get a good result".

Brno is the first of three consecutive events, being followed by a pair of races at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, perhaps the most favourable circuit on the revised line-up for Ducati.

Yamaha riders Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales currently lead the MotoGP standings on 50 and 40 points respectively, with Dovizioso third (26 points) and Petrucci 14th (7 points).

 

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