Ducati now best turning bike - Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow claims the Ducati has become the strongest MotoGP bike at turning after the three GP18s finished Friday's running at the Sachsenring in the top four.
Ducati has traditionally struggled at the German Grand Prix venue, with lead factory rider Andrea Dovizioso finishing eighth there last year and over 20 seconds behind winner Marc Marquez.
This year Jorge Lorenzo set the pace on Friday, with Danilo Petrucci and Dovizioso taking second and fourth places respectively.
"It is the best turning bike on the grid, simple as that," said LCR Honda rider Crutchlow, who ended the day ninth-fastest, about the Ducati Desmosedici.
"It is a tiny twisty circuit, they can accelerate very well out of this last corner over this crest. But it is the best turning bike, that's for sure."
Marquez agreed that the Ducatis have improved a lot at the German track, while the Honda has lost some of its usual advantage at a circuit where it has won every year since 2009.
"Especially Ducati is the manufacturer that improves more on this racetrack," said Marquez. "It's what I said a few races ago: Ducati is strong everywhere."
The factory Ducati riders downplayed their chances with, Dovizioso insisting turning, as well as tyre wear, remains problematic.
"Still our turning, especially when the tyre drops, is not easy, it's very difficult to turn fast enough," he said.
"But the base is a bit better, so we are able to make a good lap time.
"But the point is, we have to be fast here, and you can't use the best potential of the tyre because you can't finish the race.
"So that is difficult because you can't entry and exit with full power or you can't open where you want. You have to reduce the power, wait to open throttle and you have to do the lap time."
Lorenzo reckoned the Ducati is not that much stronger than it was last year at the Sachsenring.
"Looking at the results of today, we are in first position with great speed for one or two laps," he said.
"We can say that the bike has improved a lot, no?
"But also for example [Alvaro] Bautista and [Jack] Miller with the old bike [the GP17] have been faster, quite close to our lap times so probably we didn't improve that much that we think.
"Anyway, we have to see the race. Probably our bike for consistency can be a little bit better because we have in theory more turning ability in the corners.
"But yes, in a such a close championship, smaller steps are very important."