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Row 2 start for Michele Pirro and Andrea Dovizioso, fifth and sixth in TIM San Marino GP qualifying. Andrea Iannone declared unfit and will have to miss the Misano round


Michele Pirro set fifth quickest time today in qualifying for the TIM San Marino Grand Prix and will start Sunday’s race from row 2 of the grid. The Italian team’s tester had been entered as a wild-card on the Ducati Test Team’s Desmosedici GP, but in the afternoon, following the decision by the doctors to declare Andrea Iannone unfit, he stepped onto his team-mate’s bike as replacement rider.

On the basis of the regulations, Pirro, ninth in the aggregate free practice standings (FP1+FP2+FP3), had to take part in Q1, where he recorded the fastest time. In Q2 the rider from San Giovanni Rotondo then put in a number of quick laps to set the fifth fastest time of 1’32.467 on his second run.

Andrea Dovizioso also had a good qualifying run, and he was very satisfied with his race pace at the end of the day. The Romagna-born rider, sixth after the morning’s FP3 session, set the sixth quickest time of 1’32.677 in qualifying and will start from the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s 28-lap race.

After a crash yesterday in which he suffered a small fracture to his third thoracic vertebra, Andrea Iannone went for another check-up at the Misano circuit’s medical centre this morning. Due to his condition, the rider from Abruzzo was not given the all-clear by the doctors to continue and will unfortunately have to miss his home GP.

Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 1’32.467 (5th)
“First of all I want to congratulate the guys in my team because after Iannone, who I hope makes a speedy recovery, was declared unfit, they really outdid themselves today. After FP3 I switched from being a wild-card rider to replacement rider and in two hours they had to move into the factory team’s box and work on Andrea’s two bikes. Despite this we all did a great job and obtained a great result. I improved on my time from last year and I am close to the best riders. Tomorrow it will be another story, and even though I don’t take part in all the rounds of the world championship, I’m starting up at the front and my Desmosedici GP is working really well, so I’m confident about the race and ready to give it a go.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’32.677 (6th)
“I am pleased with this afternoon’s result, because in the morning, with the cooler temperature, I had lost a bit of feeling. My race pace is really very good even though a lot of us are at a similar level. Tomorrow I expect it to be a tight race and it will be vital to get a good start. I’m sorry about what happened to Andrea Iannone because I know how important it is to race at Misano for an Italian rider, but I am also happy about Michele Pirro’s good performance, he went really well today.”

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29)
“I feel pretty bad about the way everything went because this morning I felt that I could try and get back on the bike. I knew that it was going to be tough and maybe that I couldn’t continue, but I wanted to try in any case. Unfortunately I was halted by the doctors’ verdict before I was able to try. Obviously I am very disappointed, because this is our home race and I had high expectations. In any case I want to say hello and thanks to all my fans for the support they have shown me and I hope to be able to give them some more good results in the next few races.”

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