Ducati riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso have played down their chances of winning this week’s Austrian MotoGP, even though the track layout is widely expected to suit the Desmosedici.
With Ducati’s speed on the long straights and their superiority in acceleration, the staccatoed nature of the Red Bull Ring makes this week’s Austrian GP arguably their best chance of winning a race since Casey Stoner’s win at Phillip Island in 2010.
Subsequently, at a recent test at the Red Bull Ring, the Ducatis of Andrea Iannone, Andrea Dovizioso, and test riders Stoner and Hector Barbera claimed the top four places, finishing ahead of the Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
However, despite their obvious strengths there, Iannone and Dovizioso both quickly played down their chances of success come Sunday.
“I ride very, very fast. Also Dovi and Casey,” said Iannone.
“But I don’t know [if Ducati has a good chance of winning]. This was a test. Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda will work hard during the break and I think the usual strong riders will be fighting for the top.”
Dovizioso added: “It’s too early to speak about [winning]. I have enough experience to know that winning is always very difficult, because you need everything to be in place. You need the complete package.
“For sure our speed is really, really good compared to other tracks, but the race weekend is always completely different and the riders that are fighting for the podium and victory every weekend are always strong.
“Also we don’t know how the weather will be, or the tyres, but overall our pace is really good and I’m really happy with my feeling with the Ducati. A lot of Ducati riders are fast, so it confirms this is a really good track for our bike.
“Compared to most tracks the layout looks quite easy, but nothing is easy when you are on the limit.
“Unfortunately I didn’t follow anybody so I don’t know exactly [where we gain on the others] but for sure we are really strong in acceleration from first or second gear, and power at the end of the straights.
“This is where we gain compared to the others. But if we check the 18 races, the layout of this track is quite particular. So we have to make use of any advantage, because in some other tracks maybe we have a disadvantage.”
Additionally, both riders voiced their concern over the short run-off areas around some of the corners, although they were confident that some improvements will be made prior to the race.
“Compared to other tracks, for sure it’s different because from the grass to the guardrail we generally have more space. More metres,” Iannone said, “In this track everything is more narrow. But I think for this year, for this first race, for us is very good because they have improved and changed some parts.
“The people at the Red Bull Ring believe in safety and want to develop in this way. I think at the moment we don’t have many problems, for sure we always want to improve and I’m sure they’ll try the best.”
Dovizioso echoed his team-mate’s sentiment, saying: “The safety in some places is not the best, especially the last corner. But we are spoke and are focussed to try and improve. In three weeks you can’t do too much but I think in future there will be some changes.”