Having struggled with unpredictable corner entry slides for much of the season-opening Jerez MotoGP weekends, Danilo Petrucci said Ducati engineers were able to find a last-minute improvement for the second race after spotting an anomaly in the engine braking.

Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was second fastest in warm-up and later spoke of "a good step with the electronics that gave me the possibility to brake harder".

"We found something interesting that was over the limit on our engine brake," Petrucci revealed. "We discovered that we had some target regulation that was really, really outside the target."

But Petrucci was not as enthusiastic about the size of the step as Dovizioso, describing it only as "a little bit better" and cautioned "in the morning when there is more grip on the track the situation is always a little bit better for us. But it was not enough for the race, when we have less grip."

However, the Italian is hopeful that, having now discovered the issue, further refinements can be made for the next event.

"We still miss a lot of turning power on the bike and we have to solve this problem with the engine brake, but today we just tried something and it's not perfect yet for sure. Now they have time to study the data."

While Pramac's Francesco Bagnaia would convert a front row start into a podium challenge, the Official Ducati riders spent the early stages of the Andalucia race in ninth and tenth - Petrucci leading Dovizioso until the title runner-up, on the podium the previous weekend, made a pass on lap 5.

The pair then remained together until lap 12 of 25, when Petrucci made a 'stupid mistake' and crashed at the Turn 2 hairpin.

"In the race at least I was much faster than last week, but this is not enough because Pecco with our bike is faster than us and we have to fight for the podium positions like he did," Petrucci said. "I'm so sorry for him, but I'm sorry also for my team for the stupid crash because we can get some very good points at the end. With just 10 laps to go it's a shame.

"Me and Dovi were quite similar, the riding style, but at the end, during the race, we were together. We had a really good fight but we were both I think on the limit.

"At the end I crashed. A stupid crash at turn 2 when I was behind Dovi and I lost the front touching the throttle. I tried to pick up the bike but I lost the rear. I was exactly the same speed, same angle as the last lap. This is strange but maybe the front tyre was really on the limit, because we'd never seen temperatures like this on the tyre and it was very, very difficult.

"When me and Dovi riding together, he was faster in sector 1, I was a little bit faster in sector 4, so at the end the lap time was more-or-less the same. For sure it was not a good race. We still have to 're-join' our riding style and our speed.

"But this was a race to finish and unfortunately I didn’t. I'm so sorry for my team.

"Anyway, at least these two weeks are finished and I can rest and recover from all the pains I have from the very big crash at the Wednesday test. And look forward to Brno."

While the engine-braking tweaks helped Dovizioso's stopping performance in a straight-line, he could only finish the race in sixth place due to 'strange' mid-corner issues after he released the brakes.

Compared to Jerez, next weekend's Brno round should be a more favourable circuit for Ducati since they can exploit their formidable engine power. 

 

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