Andrea Dovizioso put in a fine performance today in the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, finishing runner-up in the fifteenth round of the 2016 world championship. The Ducati Team rider, who started from the second row, powered away well at the stat but lost a few positions at the first corner and crossed the line at the end of lap 1 in fifth place. Andrea then passed Aleix Espargarò on lap 6 and began to chip away at Lorenzo, who crashed on lap 20. At that point Dovizioso was able to control the recovery by Viñales and he finished his race with a well-deserved second place.
Hector Barbera, who was making his debut on the Demosedici GP of the Ducati Team, had not such a good race. The rider from Valencia, who started from row 3, lost several positions at the start and then began his recovery by passing Petrucci and catching Pol Espargarò. In an attempt to pass his fellow Spanish rider, Hector made a mistake and crashed, managing to restart however despite a damaged bike, and he crossed the finish-line in seventeenth place. Barbera will again replace the still convalescent Andrea Iannone in the Australian Grand Prix next week at Phillip Island.
“Today’s race was really very difficult. I started quite well but was boxed in by Valentino at the first corner and lost several positions and above all contact with the leading trio. I remained calm however and began to get closer to Lorenzo lap after lap: I didn’t want to take too many risks, but I had almost caught him when he made a small error and crashed out. I am very pleased with the feeling I had with the bike and with how I managed the situation: I couldn’t take too many risks because it was very easy to crash, but I was able to be constant throughout the race and with a good pace, and get an important result for both me and Ducati. This weekend we worked well, and confirmed that we have a good base on which to continue to work to improve several aspects of the bike.”
“For me it was a fantastic opportunity to ride the 2016 Desmosedici GP and race for a factory squad like the Ducati Team and so I want to thank both Ducati and Avintia Racing for giving me this opportunity. For me it was all new: in fact, I didn’t know either the bike or the guys in the team, but after every session the situation improved a lot. Unfortunately in the race I was not able to get a good start, especially because the clutch is very different to the one I normally use, and I immediately lost two positions. I took a bit of time to pass Petrucci and then I caught Pol Espargarò, who I tried to overtake several times, until I tried with even more decision and unfortunately I crashed. I feel bad about it because I think that today I could have finished in fifth or sixth place. In any case I picked the bike up to finish the race, but in the crash the two wings had broken off and I was no longer able to ride it well. However it was a great experience and I am very happy that I have been given another chance next week at Phillip Island.”