Dovizioso: Marquez’s pace and mine the same

“But always it depends how much intensity and how much tyres you use to make that lap time. And you can't know that during the practice…” – Andrea Dovizioso
Dovizioso: Marquez’s pace and mine the same

Andrea Dovizioso believes he has a fighting chance of challenging Marc Marquez for victory in Sunday’s Spanish MotoGP outing at Jerez, after qualifying a strong fourth place in a hectic Q2 shootout.

The 33-year old has shown impressive speed and consistency on used rubber around a track that historically has not favoured Ducati’s Desmosedici machines.

However an excellent run to fourth position on Saturday, when his final flying lap was far from perfect, left Dovizioso “really happy” ahead of the fourth race of the year.

“Our speed is good,” he said. “I don't know if it will be enough to win the race tomorrow, because Marc is really strong. Looks like we have a similar pace, but I think for him it's a bit easier to do that lap time, but you can only tell in the race.

“The good grip of the new asphalt is good, also maybe for us. We have good grip, we can keep high speed in the fast corners. In the braking, in the slow corners, we are very competitive, so we have really good speed.

“We will see tomorrow. We are in the first group in terms of the pace, but the second group is just two or three tenths slower. So the gap is very small.

“Normally, history shows that Jerez is a strange race, it's a slow race, we are slower, it's hotter, and when you follow other riders for the temperature of the tyres, so it's a very difficult race and it's very important to start in the first two rows.

“I'm really happy about the lap time I did, because I didn't make a perfect lap and I'm there.”

Does Marquez have a slight advantage? “No, I think the lap time is the same, my pace and his pace. But always it depends how much intensity and how much tires you use to make that lap time.

“And you can't know that during the practice, you can only see the lap time on the paper. So we can't know exactly if he is in a better situation or not. But I'm relaxed about that.

“We worked very well during the weekend, we improved set up by set up, and I'm happy about that. I expected to be fast in this track, I told you before the weekend, but a bit better than what we expected.”

Asked to remember the year when his Ducati started to feel competitive around the tight, narrow Andalusian circuit, Dovizioso said, “It's a long time ago, I forget!

“I don't remember the details. For sure our bike improved in turning a little bit. But still it's our negative point, but we improved a little bit there. And we improved in our good points, acceleration and braking. So electronics. A lot of things.

“It's very difficult to make a big step in something. So I think in the last few years, the engineers worked very well, and it takes time, from 2013, but our base now is really, really good.”