Andrea Dovizioso: Ducati not in hunt at every race
Ducati is still not quite ready to compete for MotoGP victories on a regular basis, admits Qatar Grand Prix runner-up Andrea Dovizioso.
The Italian rider was one of the protagonists of the season-opening race last weekend, only narrowly losing out on what would have been his second victory for Ducati in an intense battle with Yamaha's Maverick Vinales.
However, Dovizioso does not believe that the Losail race - traditionally a happy hunting ground for the Desmosedici, and affected by weather this year - can be taken as evidence that Ducati is in for a strong season against Yamaha and Honda.
"I think it's very difficult to set a target or something like this after this race, because it was a strange weekend and especially a strange race," Dovizioso said.
2017, Dovizioso, DucatiDucati Motor Holding S.p.A
"The race was quite slow, and conditions were quite bad. The gaps [between riders at the finish] were quite small, but I don't think that's the reality.
"I think we are quite competitive and on some tracks very competitive like in the past, but still we are missing something and we couldn't change it up to now.
"So we have to improve in some points to really stay with them every weekend.
"I know how strong they are and they are strong in every condition at every race."
Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo struggled on his Ducati debut, only managing an 11th-place finish.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) - Tests IRTA - 01.02.2017Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A
Ducati used one of its allocation of five in-season test days on Wednesday, with a private test for Lorenzo and Dovizioso after test rider Michele Pirro ran on Tuesday.
Lorenzo completed 82 laps, including a short run with the radical aerodynamic fairing first seen in Qatar pre-season testing, while Dovizioso turned 51 laps.
Both riders were primarily focused on race set-up at a track where Ducati has historically struggled in low-grip conditions, with neither suffering any crashes or other mishaps.