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Dovizioso a fraction away from front row start, Crutchlow eighth in Qatar GP qualifying

The two Ducati Team riders demonstrated determination and character today in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Qatar, the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship, which takes place tomorrow at the Losail International Circuit.

Andrea Dovizioso, who was already fourth quickest following three sessions of free practice, today continued to lap strongly: the Italian rider in fact further improved in qualifying, ending up with a 1m54.644s which propelled him to fourth place on the grid, just a few hundredths away from the front row.

Cal Crutchlow, who had appeared to be in a bit of difficulty on Friday, today had to take part in Q1 and, after immediately qualifying for Q2, also improved his lap time to finish in eighth place, just three-tenths of a second away from pole.

Tomorrow the 22-lap Grand Prix of Qatar will get underway under the Losail floodlights at 10pm local time.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 4th (1m54.644s)
“I am very pleased with the lap time I set today, it’s confirmation that we have managed to make a significant improvement, as we had already shown in the recent tests. We are quicker than last year and also closer to the others in race pace. I think that the race will be very difficult however: I’ll try and get a good start from row 2 but for sure we’ll have to grit our teeth for 22 laps. Unlike last year, I reckon we can fight for some good positions. I’m really disappointed about missing out on the front row by just so little, because I made a mistake at Turn 12 losing at least a tenth. In any case, fourth place on the grid is not at all bad.”

Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 8th (1m54.888s)
“If you had said to me this morning I would have been three-tenths away from pole, I would never have believed it! Even though eighth place on the grid is not exactly where we want to be, I lapped quicker than last year and so it’s not bad at all. As for my pace, I’d like to be in a position to lap in 56.5 for the whole race, but it’s not going to be easy. Today we found something by lengthening the bike a bit and sacrificing some grip, but the bike now feels more stable and on this circuit that’s important because when the tyres begin to go off after a few laps, you need a stable bike. Yesterday I rode useless and didn’t have the right feeling with the bike, but the guys in the team worked all night and today things went a lot better.”