The season-opening MotoGP race saw Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden finish in seventh and eighth places, respectively, under the floodlights at Losail International Circuit.
After starting from the second row in his debut race for the Italian factory, Dovizioso ran in third place in the early laps and was then involved in battles with Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl, and teammate Hayden. Meanwhile, the American quickly advanced from the eleventh spot on the grid to ninth place, and after pushing hard the entire race, he crossed the finish line in eighth.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 7th
“Before coming here, this is about the best result we could have hoped for. It’s true that we had hoped to do better following the exceptional qualifying session, but this is the reality. Races are different than practice, and I knew that. In fact, I was really curious to see how I’d go in the race. Doing a race weekend is an important experience, so we go on from here. We knew there were limits, but in my opinion we couldn’t have done any better. We improved on the times from last year, so that’s positive. Still, of course we always want to do better, so we don’t go home happy.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 8th
“We knew it was going to be difficult. We made a little improvement in the warm-up session, and I felt a bit better. I have to give credit to my guys because we made one more change before the race, and my bike was better than it’s been since we got here. I did my best time of the weekend by two tenths and basically ran at my qualifying pace for the first part of the race. I worked really hard to close that gap and get onto that little group in front of me, and things started feeling better. It would have been nice to pick up one more spot, but I couldn’t get past Dovi because he was better than I was on the brakes.”
Bernhard Gobmeier – Ducati Corse General Manager
“We’re happy that all four Ducati riders finished the race without any specific issues, and the result was as good as we could have expected in the current circumstances. With the progress made over the testing season, we were able to improve our speed, but nevertheless, we don’t yet have the consistency to run at the front, especially toward the end. We’re looking forward to the next races and the tests, where we’ll have some new things to try out.”
As the team heads home to prepare for the championship’s next round, in Texas, its members extend their warm support to Team Manager Vittoriano Guareschi, whose father Claudio passed away on Sunday.