As many enthusiastic supporters looked on from the Ducati Grandstand, both Ducati Team riders posted their best dry results of the year today at Mugello, with Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden riding their Desmosedici GP13 machines to fifth and sixth places, respectively, in the TIM Italian Grand Prix.
The teammates started from rows one and three respectively, and after avoiding a first-lap crash involving two other riders, they found themselves battling one another, along with Stefan Bradl, in a fight for fifth place that lasted much of the race. The German got the better of that struggle, but after Marc Marquez fell near the end, Dovizioso and Hayden took the fifth and sixth spots.
The Ducati Team racers were followed by Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro. Participating as a wildcard entry, the Italian advanced steadily through the pack from his 10th-place starting spot. His eventual seventh-place finishing position was his best result of the year so far, and the second-best of his premier-class career.
Thursday and Friday will find the Ducati riders back on track at the Mugello circuit for a private test, in preparation for the Catalan Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 5th
“In terms of gap to the front and finish position, this is the best result that we could realistically expect. It was a really tough race, like always at Mugello. I gritted my teeth to try and stay with Bradl until the end, and I had a nice battle with Nicky. Unfortunately, I lost the fight with Bradl on the last lap, but it was fun—we passed each other four times! In the practice sessions, we’re able to do good times, but I think that fifth place at Mugello is the best we can do with our current package, so we still have a lot of work to do.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 6th
“I had struggled with grip this weekend, but the team did a really good job of making the bike better in the race, and with some other people’s misfortune, I was able to fight for the top five. In the end, to end up sixth isn’t fantastic, but I had a good battle with Bradl and Dovi. They’re both good guys to race with, so it was fun, but then in the last two laps I developed a lot of chatter and had to back off.”
Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team, 7th
“First of all, I must try to eliminate some mistakes, particularly one that has hurt me in all three of the races I’ve done so far: poor starts. I’m losing positions, and it’s my fault. Unfortunately, I lost my rear seat pad on the second lap, so I had to adapt to the new riding position. It was quite difficult because I had to work hard with my arms and legs to keep my weight forward. I also lost time with Iannone because we passed each other three times, which affected my race. I’m sorry because I’m sure I could have stayed closer to Andrea and Nicky and learned from them.”
Bernhard Gobmeier – Ducati Corse General Manager
“Our goal today was to be top five, which we achieved. Of course there were some crashes, but it shows that we can fight with the second group. Right now it’s clear that it will be very difficult to fight for the podium, as the bikes and riders ahead of us are extremely competitive. Both of our riders had a similar pace for the whole race, and although we know that we must improve our technical package, we’re pleased by Michele Pirro’s race on the laboratory bike, as he did good lap times in the latter stages of the race. In any case, we’re happy to have started from the front row for the second-straight race weekend, which shows that our bike can be quite fast for one quick lap.”