Andrea Dovizioso has revealed that a recurring neck injury hindered his free practice sessions at Mugello on Friday.
Dovizioso first sustained the neck injury when he crashed while racing in the 250cc category of the 2005 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season.
The Ducati rider did not post a time during FP1, but while he did manage to ride in FP2, he clocked the 13th fastest time and was 1.1 seconds off the pace set by his team-mate Andrea Iannone.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t the best start today, because I had a problem with my neck,” Dovizioso told reporters. “I’ve had this problem since 2005 when I crashed in 250cc. Sometimes it can happen, and this morning my neck blocked, which is a problem on the bike because I couldn’t turn my head back.
“We improved the situation in the afternoon and I was able to ride, not in the best way. Also I didn’t use a new tyre on the last run like most of the riders, so my position is not the best.”
Dovizioso admitted that his neck problem flares up from time to time, but there is nothing he can do about it.
“From 2005 I live with this problem every day, but fortunately this kind of limit has only happened six or seven times, not more,” he said. “Normally when I crash is when it happens. The week after [the last race at] Le Mans it was a big problem, I did all the therapy.
“It's something you can't fix, it will probably always be like this.”
Despite his chronic neck injury, the 30-year-old is confident of being able to race on Sunday as he found himself in a similar situation at Mugello three years ago, but still managed to finish fifth.
“Every time it happens, I have never found something to fix it very quickly,” he said. “It happened also in 2013 here on Friday morning when I crashed, but fortunately in the race I was in good condition to push.”