Andrea Dovizioso was cautiously optimistic with the performance of the Ducati GP13 after taking fifth place in first practice ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix. The Italian was the fastest rider on the harder compound tyre but is refusing to get carried away given the track evolution that is a feature of Losail over the race weekend.
“I’m pleased with the lap time, especially because I did three laps like that and I could have been even better if I hadn’t come across traffic. Anyway, the times aren’t really a reference in terms of pace, as the first session is always a bit strange here due to the sand. It’s definitely possible to improve. The riders ahead of me used soft tyres, and I was the only one to use the hard front. Tomorrow there are two important sessions in which we can work on our pace.”
Teammate Nicky Hayden was tenth quickest despite losing time in the final sector of the lap and is also hopeful of putting in a strong showing when qualifying comes around.
“It’s certainly good to get the season started. I was having a lot of trouble in my first exit, and I’m not sure what the problem was. When we switched to my other bike with different tyres, the feeling improved and I started putting in some decent laps. I was getting better as the track cleaned up, but I was losing a lot of time in the last three rights. If I can figure out that section and get it to wheelie less, I should be able to improve quite a bit. It’s not a great start, but I think if we can improve a couple of things, we can put up a good fight here.”