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Iannone fourth, Dovizioso eighth after first day of free practice for the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix at Sepang

Ducati Team 102315

Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso wrapped up the first day of practice for the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix at Sepang in fourth and eighth place respectively. On a hot, sultry day, amidst a permanent haze caused by forest fire smoke from nearby Indonesia, the two Ducati Team riders took to the track in the first morning session using only medium compound tyres, front and rear. At the end of the 45-minute session Iannone was seventh, with Dovizioso in tenth.

In the afternoon’s FP2 both Ducati riders continued the set-up work on their Desmosedici GP15 machines with the same type of tyres. Andrea Iannone had a harmless crash on his third lap, and when he returned to the garage, he continued the session with his second bike. In the final stages both riders bolted on a soft rear and Andrea Iannone set fourth quickest time in 2’00.486, just 0.24s away from provisional leader Lorenzo. Andrea Dovizioso instead finished in eighth place with a time of 2’01.127.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 2’00.486 (4th)

“All things considered it was a positive day, pity only about my crash at the start of the second session. The front closed up when I entered Turn 7 and I crashed: I’m sorry for the guys, who will now have to rebuild the bike. For the moment my pace on the track is good and this makes us hopeful for tomorrow. At the front I always used the medium compound tyre, which will probably be the one we’ll use in the race but now it will be important to know if the others have used the same tyre or the hard one.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2’01.127 (8th)

“It was a difficult day for me, because I hoped to be closer to the front, but we’re still a long way off. My bike has improved a lot from last year’s in several areas, but we have lost out in others and on certain tracks we can go well, on others not so good. Unfortunately I am not able to get 100% out of the bike and it’s a bit frustrating. However we must try and improve during the weekend: today we tried various things, some positive, some not so much, and I hope that they will be enough to understand the right direction for tomorrow and help us to improve a bit more.”