Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A
Ducati boss admits wins were 'unthinkable'
Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali admits its back-to-back MotoGP victories with Andrea Dovizioso "would have been unthinkable" a few months ago.
The Italian brand ended a winless streak just short of six years with two victories last season. It began 2017 hoping to improve its Desmosedici enough to take the challenge to Yamaha and Honda on a more regular basis but had a mixed start.
Before Mugello, Ducati had just two podiums on the board - with Dovizioso in Qatar and new recruit Jorge Lorenzo at Jerez - and no front-row starts from the opening five races.
Dovizioso qualified third and won at Mugello, and then made it back-to-back wins at Barcelona, where Lorenzo started on the front row and finished fourth.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) - Catalunya GP 2017Getty Images
"Being on the top step of the podium once again, just one week after our extraordinary win at Mugello, confirms that we have been working really well," Domenicali said.
"Now we are much closer to first place in the championship. Until a few months ago all this would have been unthinkable and so it has been vitally important to keep a cool head even in the difficult moments we have gone through."
Dovizioso is now seven points behind Yamaha's championship leader Maverick Vinales, but has looked to keep a lid on expectations, saying the two wins are "not the reality".
Andrea DoviziosoGetty Images
The now-four-time grand prix winner feels the Ducati is still lacking mid-corner, and highlighted that it tested at Mugello and Barcelona in the month before both races.
With Dovizioso having finished seventh at Barcelona 12 months earlier, and more than 40 seconds behind winner Valentino Rossi, general manager Gigi Dall'Igna believes the extra preparation paid off this year.
"We knew that the Montmelo track was a tough one for us," he said.
"Last year we suffered a lot and it was for this reason that recently we did two days' testing which surely helped, seeing as here our bikes were in good shape."