The second and third free practice sessions at the Losail circuit in Qatar saw Andrea Dovizioso put in a good run, the Italian ending up fourth quickest today. His team-mate Cal Crutchlow however had some problems in finding the right set-up on his Desmosedici GP14 and thanks also to a crash, was unable to go any higher than twelfth place.
Dovizioso’s day was positive right from the start, the Italian managing to get the best out of the soft tyre, which he tried today for the first time. Already in second free practice Andrea had notched up a time of 1m55.320s, which he then improved on slightly in the third session that was held two hours later.
Crutchlow instead had problems and was unable to find an ideal set-up: a far from perfect feeling with the front end of his bike contributed to him crashing out at turn 10 during the third session. The crash, luckily without any consequences for the rider, left him with very little time to try and clinch a top-10 position and go directly through into tomorrow’s Q2 session.
Tomorrow evening will see the final free practice session, which gets underway at 7.55pm local time, to be followed immediately afterwards by the two qualifying sessions for Sunday’s race.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 4th (1m55.250s)
“It’s always a great feeling to find yourself up near the front! Today I’m happy because I didn’t expect to improve so much with our hard tyre, which in my opinion is the one everyone will use in the race. I was quick, and even though a lot of riders are all within three-tenths of each other, this was one of our main aims. Then when we put the soft tyre on, I managed to do a good lap. In the first three sessions we’ve worked really well, but we must improve our race pace.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 12th (1m56.013s)
“It was a disappointing day and I’m not very happy at all. We didn’t find a good setting with the bike, and even though we made a lot of changes from the first session, it felt more or less the same. I also had a crash in the third session, but the positive thing is that we got up and went a little bit faster with the second bike. Unfortunately now we have to take part in Q1 tomorrow, and that’s unfamiliar territory for me because I’ve been used to qualifying close to the front for the last two years. Things are difficult at the moment, but there’s no doubt the team are working hard to sort things out.”