The Ducati Team put up a strong performance in the qualifying session of the French GP, held in particularly difficult conditions due to the intermittent rain that hit Le Mans since early morning. Danilo Petrucci qualified in first row for the first time in 2019, posting the second-best time with a 1:41.312, while Andrea Dovizioso secured second row in fourth position after clocking a personal best of 1:41.552.
Both Ducati factory riders gained direct access to Q2 thanks to the lap times posted yesterday in dry conditions. Petrucci, after showing promise during FP4, confirmed its competitiveness on the French track, where he finished second in 2018, posting his fastest lap at his second attempt. About two tenths of a second behind his teammate, Dovizioso was, on the other hand, one of the few riders capable of improving his lap times in the second and last stint despite progressively worse track conditions.
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 1:41.312 (2nd)
"I'm very happy because we finally managed to show our potential also in qualifying and tomorrow we'll start from a good position on the grid. Together with my team, we adopted what turned out to be a good strategy, pushing hard early on in the session with a medium rear tyre, since track conditions became progressively worse as the time passed. At any rate, it wasn't easy to do a quick lap time: the rain wasn't intense enough for the tyres to work perfectly, so it was particularly difficult to find the limit in terms of grip, as the many crashes seem to show. Today we did a good job, but the race is tomorrow so we need to stay 100 percent focused."
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 1:41.552 (4th)
"I'm quite happy with fourth position on the grid because, given the conditions out there today, it was easier to make mistakes than to be fast. It was really difficult to find the right feeling on the bike, especially in the second part of the session. We bet our chips on that, and we were able to improve our lap time, but unfortunately the track was faster in the opening minutes. We couldn't do many laps in properly wet conditions, so we still have a few question marks regarding tomorrow, but I hope to have a dry track since the morning warm-up session in order to be able to work on some details that could make a big difference during the race. There are many riders with a strong, similar pace so anything can happen tomorrow, but for sure we have the potential to be competitive."
The Ducati Team will resume action tomorrow, May 19th, at 09:40 for a warm-up session ahead of the race, which is scheduled to start at 14:00 local time (CET).