Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso fears his lowly grid position will be extremely hard to recover from in the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin.
Dovizioso was forced to take part in the first part of qualifying due to missing the top 10 cut on Friday, and then rain forcing the cancellation of practice three on Saturday.
He could only manage third in Q1, narrowly beaten by both his former team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and new Ducati partner Danilo Petrucci.
Dovizioso admitted he chose the wrong strategy by not pitting for fresh tyres during qualifying.
“It was very important to start in the first three rows and unfortunately I couldn’t get it. I’m very disappointed about that,” said Dovizioso.
“I thought after FP4 that the [track] condition was not so good, not 100%. I wanted to do one run [in Q1] with more laps instead of two.
“I waited two minutes in the box because the track became better at the end of the practice [FP4] but in the end the track was quite good to start from the beginning and push.
“Doing two tyres was a better decision. I lost some tenths with the strategy and that did not give me the possibility to go to Q2.”
Dovizioso came to Austin second in the championship to his 2017/18 title rival Marc Marquez, who swept to a seventh straight pole at a track where he is unbeaten in MotoGP.
Though Dovizioso expects Marquez to dominate again on Sunday, he believes he is as fast as the next pack – but doubts he can get through the field to join them.
“This is bad because in this track our speed is not wonderful but I think we have a chance to fight in the second group after Marc,” said Dovizioso.
“Our pace is very similar to Valentino [Rossi], Jack [Miller], Maverick [Vinales], [Alex] Rins, [Cal] Crutchlow so it’s very important to start closer to them to fight with them.
“I don’t know if it will be possible because the start is very short. There are some place to overtake but most of the track has one line so it’s difficult to overtake.
“We are not in a really good situation, but it is what it is.”
Petrucci “very sad” to push Dovizioso out of Q2
Petrucci, who went on to take eighth in Q2, said he produced “one of my best laps” to beat Dovizioso in Q1, but was still sorry to force his team-mate out.
“Very difficult, especially because we have no experience today on the track,” said Petrucci.
“This morning no FP3, FP4 was on an absolutely nasty track and then Q1 with a lot of strong riders, especially with the track in a not good condition, you never know how much you can push on those wet patches.
“I say to myself inside my helmet, ‘give it all you have because you need it’. I did one of my best laps.
“I braked so hard in some corners I did not know if I was able to close the corner but in qualifying you have to do it like this, and it was enough.
“It is a shame that I pulled my team-mate out but it is racing. I am very sad for this but I need to start as much in front as possible.”