The first two free practice sessions were held today at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, a new circuit for almost all the MotoGP riders. After the two 45 minute sessions, Andrea Dovizioso set fifth quickest time, while his team-mate Michele Pirro, standing in for the injured Cal Crutchlow in this race, for the moment has been unable to go any higher than eighteenth place.
Dovizioso was particularly impressive in the afternoon session, immediately setting a good time on his third lap with a hard tyre, but his Desmosedici GP14 then had an engine problem on the following lap and he was forced to come back to the pits to finish the session on his second machine. Now on a soft tyre, Andrea put in an excellent time of 1m41.042s on the fifth lap, but was unable to complete more than 11 laps in total throughout the session and he finished in fifth place. Dovi however said he was optimistic regarding the rest of the weekend.
Michele Pirro, who stepped onto Crutchlow’s bike this morning, has not yet been able to establish a good feeling with his GP14, and he finished the day in eighteenth place. The Italian rider is convinced that he will be able to improve his position tomorrow.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th (1m41.042s)
“It was a bit of a lively session for me. We didn’t have the opportunity to do many laps because of my Desmosedici’s engine problem, and on a new track you always need to do so. Despite this I managed to be fast here, and I think I’ve been able to interpret this track pretty well. For sure the times will drop tomorrow, but we all have a big problem with tyre wear and at the moment it’s difficult to do 25 laps at the right pace. I hope the track conditions improve tomorrow. I set my time on a soft tyre, because when I was using the hard tyre I had a problem with the engine and had to change bikes.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 18th (1m42.898s)
“It was a bit of a difficult session, but we managed to get some good indications for tomorrow. Today I didn’t use the soft tyre because I needed to improve my feeling with the bike. I am confident because the GP14 is going well: I’m just missing a bit of rhythm but tomorrow I’m sure I can move up the timesheets. Cal’s bike has a slightly different set-up to the one I normally use in the tests: the track however is new for everyone and it’s me who has to adapt to the bike. Tomorrow in any case I count on being closer to the other Ducatis.”
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