Andrea Dovizioso has started where he left off twelve months ago by topping the first day of MotoGP action for Ducati at the Austrian Grand Prix, by making the most of tricky conditions at the Red Bull Ring to finish a quarter of a second faster than Maverick Viñales.
Coming after the firm dominated last year’s race – even though teammate Andrea Iannone piped him for the race win – the Italian says that the addition of a new aerodynamic fairing to his GP17 machine has made all the difference for him.
“I’m very pleased with the way things went today and we couldn’t have had a better start to the weekend. The Ducati Corse engineers have done a really good job with the new fairing, which on this track is working very well, and we have managed to get close to the effect of last year’s winglets, confirming our speed in two different conditions, both this morning and this afternoon, when there wasn’t much grip. But now we have to work on some details because it’s the tyre wear that will make all the difference in the race rather than sheer speed, just like last year.”
Viñales was 0.234 behind him on the Movistar Yamaha, with Dani Pedrosa making it three manufacturers in the top three for Honda, a further 0.194 behind Viñales, despite concerns that the Hondas would struggle with the slow corners of the Austrian track.
Johann Zarco was fourth, ahead of a Ducati second row of Jorge Lorenzo (whose pace on the red bike continues to improve week by week) and the Avintia Ducati of Hector Barbera. Marc Marquez was seventh ahead of the best of the Brits Cal Crutchlow, with Aleix Espargaró and Scott Redding rounding out the top ten.