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Third and fourth row starts for Ducati Team riders at Phillip Island. Andrea Dovizioso ninth and Álvaro Bautista twelfth in Australian GP qualifying


Andrea Dovizioso and Álvaro Bautista will line up for the start of tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, which starts at 4pm local time (06.00 CET), from the third and fourth rows of the grid respectively.

This morning the Ducati Team’s Italian rider finished FP3 in tenth, but he was fourth on aggregate thanks to the time he set in yesterday’s FP2 run. It then started to drizzle right at the start of Q2 and all the riders immediately went out on slick tyres to capitalize on the still dry asphalt. The tricky track conditions however did not allow Dovizioso to get any higher than ninth, with a time of 1’30.519, and that means that tomorrow Andrea will start from row 3 alongside Rossi and Petrucci.

Álvaro Bautista, whose crash yesterday meant that he had to miss virtually all of FP2, set ninth-quickest time in FP3 this morning, but this was not enough to earn him a place in Q2. In the afternoon the Spanish rider was quickest in Q1 with a time of 1’29.851, but he was unable to repeat this pace in the second qualifying session, and he also crashed out on his fourth flying lap, ending the day in twelfth place.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 9th (1’30.519)
“Today my qualifying run went pretty badly because I was not able to set my time at the right moment. Pity because the rain, even though it was light, disturbed us throughout all of Q2 and so now we have to start from row 3. During the weekend we’ve had a few ups and downs but as for my speed we’re not so bad. Tomorrow I’ll try and immediately make up a few places and then we’ll see. The race is very long and we’ll have to see how far we can push to manage the tyre wear in the best way and try and bring home a good result.”

Álvaro Bautista (Ducati Team #19) – 12th (1’32.367)
“Overall today was better than yesterday, even though I had a really bad crash after a few laps in Q2. I’m still not used to the gearchange of the GP18, a wrong gear went in when I was braking and the bike didn’t stop. I wasn’t able to prevent the crash but I’m OK, just a few scrapes on my back. I believe we’re working well and even though the weather condtions with the wind and the cold are not the best, we’ve made a good step forward. In Q1 I felt good on the bike and I lapped quickly, improving lap after lap. Tomorrow it’ll be important to get a good start because the first few laps on this circuit are fundamental and then during the race, we’ll have to administer the tyre wear, which will be another key factor in getting a good result.”