The Mission Winnow Ducati team resumed action today at Montmeló (Spain) for the qualifying session of the Grand Prix of Catalunya, the seventh round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship. In sunny weather conditions – with 25 degrees in the atmosphere and almost 50 on the tarmac – Andrea Dovizioso seized second row on the starting grid for tomorrow’s race in sixth position, preceding his teammate Danilo Petrucci, who leads the third row in seventh place, just 67 thousandths of a second behind his teammate.
Both riders gained direct access to Q2 after finishing FP3 in sixth and eighth position respectively with only four tenths of a second separating the top ten riders. Despite the increasing track temperatures and, consequently, lower grip levels, Dovizioso basically equalled his personal best – set in the morning during FP3 – in the second and decisive qualifying session to post a 1:39.777, only 0.297 seconds slower than the pole position time. Petrucci, who significantly improved his feeling with the Desmosedici GP, took 74 thousandths of a second off his lap times in Q2 to finish in 1:39.844.
*UPDATE: due to a three-position grid penalty inflicted to Maverick Viñales for “irresponsible riding” during Q2, Andrea Dovizioso will start tomorrow’s race from fifth position.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:39.777 (5th)
“I’m happy with our starting position because today the track conditions were particularly tricky in terms of grip and it was really easy to make mistakes, so to start tomorrow’s race from the top two rows is OK. The race pace remains to be seen because grip is really low, as we can infer from the slower lap times compared with the past. We had another example also in FP4, during which the riders tried practically every possible combination of tyres, which means there are still questions to be answered. We worked well so far and we are in the front group, but gaps are really narrow and it’s difficult to gauge the potential of our rivals. We’re competitive but we’ll need to be very smart tomorrow and manage the race without making mistakes.”
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:39.844 (7th)
“Today we started off on the right foot and we’ve been fast since the very first laps. Even during FP4, despite our final position, we were competitive as we only rode with used tyres. In qualifying I was able to set a good lap time right away, but when I was coming back to the pits I crashed at a very low speed. Unfortunately, when I got out on track with the second bike, I couldn’t find the same feeling and I wasn’t able to improve further. Grip levels are much lower than last year, and I expect a tricky race with many variables to manage, from tyre wear to overall consistency. As for us, we focused on tyre management over the race distance so I’m confident we’ll be able to put up a fight tomorrow as well.”
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume track action tomorrow, June 16th, at 09:40 (CET) for a warm-up session ahead of the race, which is scheduled to start at 14:00.