This just in from Ducati:
Andrea Dovizioso ran a splendid race today to finish runner-up in the Qatar GP. Eleventh place for Jorge Lorenzo on his Ducati debut
Andrea Dovizioso put in a great race today at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar to finish in second place in the opening round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship. The Ducati Team rider led for several laps but had to settle for the runner-up slot, less than half-a-second behind winner Viñales, with whom he had a terrific battle throughout the second part of the race. Today’s result was the third time in the last three years that the Italian rider has taken second place. The race started with a delay of 45 minutes due to the weather conditions, and it was shortened from 22 to 20 laps.
Dovizioso started well from row 2 and moved up from fourth to second in the opening six laps, taking the lead on lap 7 after Zarco crashed out. He remained in the lead until lap 13, holding off first Marquez and then Viñales, who passed him for the next four laps. Dovizioso was again back in front of the Spanish rider on lap 17, but Viñales overtook him on the next lap and held the Ducati rider off until the chequered flag.
Jorge Lorenzo’s debut race for Ducati proved to be a tough one. The rider from Mallorca started well from row 4, but on the opening lap he went wide at Turn 5 and dropped to sixteenth. Jorge then began a recovery through the field, lapping at the same times as the leading group which took him into ninth position by the mid-point. Six laps from the end however Lorenzo had to slow his pace and he finished the race in eleventh place.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd
“I’m very pleased with the result and the job we did this weekend: it was difficult for everyone because of the conditions we encountered, but we worked well and we calmly arrived at the race with a competitive set-up. We were even better at choosing the rear tyre on the grid, changing strategy and switching to the soft tyre. In the final part of the race I tried to hold back Maverick but I don’t think that we could have done anything better today.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 11th
“It was a very complicated race from all aspects. I started off well, but on the opening lap I went wide and lost a lot of positions, and this conditioned me in my efforts to get back up. Then I felt better on the bike and I started to lap at the same pace as the leaders, but unfortunately in the final part of the race I started to lose confidence in the tyres and my bike became a lot more physical to ride, so I had to slow the pace and I was unable to finish in the top 10. I want to be positive about things however, even though my first race with Ducati didn’t go the way we expected. It’s true that we are just at the start, and we know we’ve got a lot of work to do.”