DUCATI HAS UPS & DOWNS IN QATAR
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’