Dovizioso puts Ducati on top in Italian Grand Prix Friday practice
Andrea Dovizioso was the quickest rider on the opening day of the Italian Grand Prix, as the Ducati Team rider circulated the undulating Mugello Circuit under race record pace in this afternoon’s Free Practice Two session.
Running the combination of the medium compound front and rear slick tires, Dovizioso set a time of 1’47.479 towards the end of FP2 to finish the day 0.164 seconds ahead of last year’s Italian Grand Prix winner, Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez in second place. Third quickest overall today was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo, who’s best time of 1’47.852 was 0.373 seconds off Dovizioso’s benchmark time. Out of the twenty-six riders contesting this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, twenty were able to improve on their lap time in the afternoon FP2 session.
Conditions for both of today’s sessions were exemplary with warm, sunny conditions and a slight breeze. Track temperatures in the morning session were in the mid to high thirty-degree range and rose to a peak of 48°C during FP2. The stable and favorable conditions enabled the riders to test a wide range of tire combinations, with every slick option in Bridgestone’s Italian Grand Prix allocation being evaluated at some stage today. The medium compound front and rear slicks were the most popular choice on the opening day, although the hard compound front and rear slicks were assessed by some riders in the afternoon FP2 session. The soft compound front slick was only used during FP1, when riders were gauging the condition of the circuit at the start of the day.
The weather forecast indicates that conditions tomorrow will be a carbon-copy of today, with a peak ambient temperature of around twenty-four degrees and no chance of rain. The next MotoGP session, Free Practice 3 will commence at 0955 local time (GMT +2) tomorrow.
Masao Azuma - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle tire Development Department
“Last year at Mugello we had some rain on the first day, so I am happy that this year we had almost perfect conditions in both sessions. The good weather allowed the riders to try many different tire combinations and the pace already is very quick. Good performance from the front of the bike is very important at this track, and it appears that the two most popular front slicks today, the medium and hard compound, have strengths in different areas. The medium front gives better cornering performance, while the hard front is better under heavy braking. So it will be interesting to see which option emerges as the favorite race option. For the rear tire, the medium compound rear slick was the most popular option, but I think we could also see the soft and hard rear options continued to be used over the race weekend, as getting the best balance between performance and durability at this high-grip circuit is a key factor during the race. I am quite pleased at how the first day at Mugello went, and with similar weather conditions forecast for tomorrow we have another good opportunity to help the riders decide on their favoured tire combination.”