Dovizioso admits Ducati improvements are “not enough”

Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso says the gains the Italian manufacturer has made with its 2017 MotoGP bike are “not enough” for it to be competitive everywhere.

Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales and Honda’s Marc Marquez were the two clear pacesetters in the most recent pre-season test at Phillip Island, where both works Ducati riders struggled to challenge for the top positions.

Dovizioso finished the final day of the Australian test in seventh, 0.699 seconds behind Vinales, while new teammate Jorge Lorenzo was one place behind.

While happy that the Desmosedici GP17 has made a step forward compared to its predecessor, the Italian rider admitted the gains were not enough to be fighting for wins at every type of circuit.

“If you look at the test and make a comparison with last year, we are in a much better situation,” said Dovizioso. “I was competitive in Malaysia, I was competitive here, and this is one of my worst tracks.

“We have improved a little bit from last year. We are quite fast. But in another side, still we didn’t improve enough the negative points.

“So I’m not happy if I look at the championship to be competitive at every track. We did a great job, but it’s not enough.”

Asked if Ducati had further updates planned for the final pre-season test in Qatar, he replied: “In Qatar it’s difficult to have new material. It’s not possible to bring something in two weeks.

“We have to understand what we have to do to try to improve the turning.”

Dovizioso nonetheless said that Ducati’s competitive fortunes could be transformed if the Italian marque is able to address its turning weakness, something he felt was already improved by the loss of winglets.

“When you are in the race, the grip is less for everybody and the turning makes a big effect,” he said.

“We can be very strong in a lot of areas, but if the turning is worse than the competitor, with the level we are now with the bikes and riders, it’s difficult to say. That’s why I say if we touch that point, everything can change.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont