Andrea Dovizioso admitted he wasn’t “happy 100 percent” after a “strange” final day of MotoGP preseason testing at Qatar in which he posted an underwhelming 15th fastest time.
The two-time championship runner-up cited Monday’s high winds, falling temperatures and humidity as reasons why track conditions – and on-bike feeling – varied from days one and two.
He also had to pull out of a race simulation, conducted on track with new team-mate Danilo Petrucci, due to a lack of feeling with the front tyre, and a sudden dropping of pace.
““Well today was a strange day,” said the Italian. “My feeling wasn’t so good. There was a strong wind in the opposite way to yestrday. We couldn’t keep our programme. We couldn’t finish the test in the best way.
“It was a strange day. A lot of riders pushed a lot to make a lap time. We didn’t make a good position. It’s not too important for the race. For sure I’m not happy 100 percent.
“We have to study in this week to be ready for next Friday. The weekend race, I think, will be a bit better for us. But it’s difficult to understand the competitors. It looks like everybody is a bit better.
“But it’s very difficult. Everybody went really fast today, even the rookies. It’s very difficult to analyse the test.”
Of the riders expected to challenge for this year’s MotoGP campaign, Dovizioso remains a mystery. Fourth overall at Sepang, but unable to live with the ferocious consistency of Alex Rins or Maverick Viñales. 15th here, but with decent pace, but not spectacular.
Has he been holding back? “[Laughs] Well, I can say yes but it’s not really true. Yes, we didn’t work a lot for the lap time for sure but the feeling is not 100 percent.
“It’s really impossible to understand [the competition] now. From outside it looks like everybody did an improvement. But it’s very difficult to know. A lot of rookies were really fast so we can’t know what they will do in the race.
“But I don’t know, each bike looks really good. Maybe the Ducati at the end of this test was not on top of the board. But I don’t think it’s really important.
“After Malaysia I was happy. After this [I’m] not too happy. All the Ducatis weren’t so strong like last year or like Malaysia. I think in Qatar every day the humidity, the wind, the temperature affects a lot the result.
“So most of the time the test didn’t show the reality so we don’t have to be too worried about that. We have to analyse and study to be ready for the race.”
On the decision to conduct another race run alongside Petrucci, Dovizioso added, “This is positive to simulate something you can find during the race. When you make a lot of laps alone it’s one story.
“When you have to fight and follow somebody it’s a different story. If you are able to simulate that, it’s just something more that nobody did.
“We tried different tyres. Yesterday that’s why we did a long run, because we wanted to be ready for the race.
This is one of the reasons why we wanted to make the simulation together, because we can create a very similar situation to the race. Normally if you’re doing a long run alone you couldn’t.”