The first race weekend of the 2016 season got off to a positive start for the Ducati Team riders at Losail. In Thursday’s first and only free practice session, Andrea Iannone was classified third while Andrea Dovizioso finished his run in ninth place.
The MotoGP riders started up their engines at 7.55 pm local time this evening for the first 45 minute run and Iannone lapped throughout with the hardest rear tyre available. He set his quickest time on his eighth lap, 0.296s behind leader Lorenzo. His team-mate Dovizioso, on the other hand, used the softer rear tyre option and he ended up 0.947s off the pace of the Spanish world champion.
Tomorrow there are two further sessions of free practice, which together with today’s, will determine the ten riders who will go directly into Saturday evening’s Q2 session.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’55.736 (3rd)
“Today we went well but didn’t improve on the time we set in the tests and so we still need to find something extra in order to be quicker and more competitive. It was in any case a positive session, even though towards the end we made a modification that didn’t give the results we had been hoping for but did help us get a clearer idea of the direction to take and the work we will have to do to make more improvements in corner turn-in under braking. I preferred to only use the hard rear tyre, seeing as we’ve still got a bit more margin, and tomorrow we’ll try and understand if we can also do the race on the soft tyre.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’56.387 (9th)
“It was a bit of a strange session because the conditions were quite different to the ones we found here during the tests at the start of the month. We started off by using tyres that today produced a bit of front-end vibration and so now we will have to work to try and understand the cause. However I am not worried about my position because I still had some margin and in some corners I preferred not to take too many risks in this first practice session because I still haven’t reached a perfect feeling with the bike.”