Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

The open­ing race of 2016 saw mixed emo­tions for the fac­tory Du­cati team, with An­drea Dovizioso tak­ing a bril­liant podium, while team-mate An­drea Ian­none crashed out of the bat­tle for the lead, leav­ing the Ital­ian man­u­fac­turer lament­ing what could have been.

Dovizioso was ar­guably the sur­prise per­for­mance of the week­end, seem­ingly com­ing out of nowhere to set a se­ries of fast laps and look like the only per­son ca­pa­ble of chal­leng­ing Jorge Lorenzo for the win, af­ter the demise of his team-mate.

Util­is­ing the out­right speed of the GP16 ma­chine on Lo­sail’s 0.6-mile long start-fin­ish straight, Dovizioso was an in­cred­i­ble 6mph faster than


Lorenzo. The Ital­ian showed just what the new ma­chine is ca­pa­ble of, leav­ing him burst­ing with con­fi­dence af­ter a dif­fi­cult end to 2015.

“Ev­ery so of­ten I make my team suf­fer, but I’m al­ways there when it counts! I fin­ished last sea­son with­out hav­ing a good feel­ing with my bike and so to do the first race at this pace, with all the regulation changes, means that we have re­ally done a great job.

Dovizioso’s con­fi­dence in the 2016 Du­cati pro­ject was mir­rored by Rossi, who got a good look at the bike dur­ing the 22 lap race.

“Can they chal­lenge for the ti­tle? Why not?” asked Rossi.

“They are fast from the be­gin­ning to the end, they have very good top speed, like we know, but also now they’re very fast in the cor­ners too. I think that if Ian­none hadn’t crashed, he could have stayed with us to the end. So I think that Du­cati will be very strong.”

‘Ian­none could’ve stayed with us... so I think Du­cati will

be very strong’

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