Andrea Dovizioso was tenth quickest at the end of the first day of practice for the Aragón Grand Prix, which is taking place this weekend at the modern circuit on the outskirts of Alcañiz. The Ducati Team man finished the morning’s FP1 run in fourth place, but suffered from lack of grip on the track in the afternoon and ended the second session in tenth with a time of 1’49.128.

Things took a turn for the worse for his team-mate Andrea Iannone, who decided to call it a day. The Italian was still suffering pain as a result of his crash in FP1 at Misano, in which he fractured a vertebra. Yesterday the man from Vasto had been declared fit by circuit doctors and he took to the track this morning for the first session of free practice, which he completed at a good pace and in sixth place. Unfortunately a worsening of the pain in his back forced Iannone to pull out for the rest of the weekend.

Michele Pirro, who had been put on stand-by for Aragón due to Iannone’s precarious physical condition, took the place of the regular Ducati Team rider and was ready for FP2 in the afternoon. Pirro, who has never raced at this circuit with a MotoGP bike, gained confidence lap after lap and finished the session in fifteenth place with a time of 1’49.678.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’49.128 (10th)
“We didn’t go badly in the morning session, but in the afternoon we encountered difficult conditions with very little grip on the track. Now we have to work to find a solution to this problem because it is our biggest limit and it doesn’t allow us to be as quick as we would like, something that conditions my riding and my lines, and above all it doesn’t let us use the set-up we want. We’ll use as reference the last session to work on the data, and I’m confident we’ll find a way to improve tomorrow.”

Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 1’49.678 (15th)
“I’ve just about tried everything this year! I arrived here this morning, hoping that Andrea would manage to ride all weekend, but after the first session he had to pull out. It’s moments like these that Ducati proves to be a real squad, because we’re all ready to make ourselves available for the team whenever required. I haven’t been on this track for five years and I don’t remember it being so difficult, especially because I have never ridden here with a real MotoGP bike. At the moment I’ve only done the second session and I’m trying to think things through, but I’m sure that tomorrow we will get a better idea of our potential in FP3.”

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29)
“Unfortunately I’m going to have to miss this race as well. It wasn’t an easy decision to make because this morning in FP1 the feeling was good on the bike. We did a good session, we were quick, and so I really feel bad about having to miss this GP. However I have to look at the situation very carefully, and unfortunately this decision was the only one I could make, the best one if I think ahead to the next few races. I could probably have been able to race with pain-killers, but to be honest I didn’t want to run the risk of crashing again and having to face the same situation from scratch. In the last few days my condition has improved but, during the session, I realized that my neck was blocked and so I decided that it was better to recover entirely and arrive in Japan with the knowledge that the crack has completely healed and that I can ride without any problems or pain.”