MotoGP

Ducati: New livery, Dovi confident, Petrucci podium goal

Factory Ducati team to run a revised livery for French MotoGP, Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci expect Desmosedici to be strong at stop-go Le Mans.

The factory Ducati team will have a revised livery for this weekend's French MotoGP with the Philip Morris 'Mission Winnow' branding replaced by personalised rider logos on the GP19 fairings.

Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci will be aiming to take the one-off colours (although 'Mission Winnow' looks unlikely to be allowed by the Australian authorities at Phillip Island in October) to the Le Mans podium after being left fourth and fifth respectively last time at Jerez.

Combined with a home victory for Honda's Marc Marquez, it means Dovizioso dropped from first to third in the world championship - but is only three points from the top.

The stop-go nature of the Le Mans circuit plays into the hands of the Desmosedici and Dovizioso will want to make amends after last year's costly mistake when he fell from the lead.

"At Le Mans we should be more competitive than in the last round, at least on paper, even though last year in France the race didn't go as planned," said Dovizioso, who has finished 3-4-4 since winning the Qatar season opener.

"Weather conditions always play a key role at Le Mans, and it's crucial to be able to manage this variable to your advantage.

"At any rate, I expect to have many fast rivals out there, so it'll be important to start off on the right foot since the very first session and prepare ourselves as well as possible for the race.

"The Desmosedici GP has some characteristics that we can take advantage of in France, but we need to iron out some details to maximize our potential and play our cards right on Sunday, which is when points are given.

"I'm confident we can ride a strong race."

Dovizioso's 2018 Le Mans error left Petrucci as the only Ducati rider on the podium, putting his then Pramac machine second behind Marquez after a strong weekend where he also qualified on the front row.

A first rostrum in factory colours is Petrucci's goal this weekend.

"Le Mans is one of my favourite tracks, and it features many hard-braking areas and quick accelerations that suit the characteristics of our Desmosedici GP, so much that last year in France I probably rode my best race ever to finish second," Petrucci said.

"Our target for this round is the podium, which I think is within our reach. We didn't finish far from it at Jerez, but first of all we'll need to be quicker in qualifying to ride at the front since the very start of the race.

"It's never easy to put all the pieces of the puzzle together at this level, but we have what we need to be competitive and take another step forward in the right direction."

Petrucci, seeking to convince Ducati to retain his services for 2020, is fifth in the world championship.

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