Factory Ducati man Andrea Dovizioso admitted he was delighted to be back on a MotoGP podium his second-place finish to Marc Marquez in Aragon.
Starting from the fourth row, Dovizioso found his work cut out early, however, saving his tyre, the Italian saved his tyre and a late race charge saw him work his way all the way up to second place, overtaking both Jack Miller and Maverick Vinales in the final three laps to secure his podium.
Dovizioso admitted that he made a mistake in qualifying which left him down on the fourth row, but he had confidence of being able to produce a much better race than his qualifying performance.
“Yesterday I did a mistake in my good lap, so I will start tenth, in Aragon with the drop of the rear tyre, it was very difficult to think of the podium, but I felt good before the race,” said the Italian.
“I thought I will push; I can really have some chance to make a good race. But in the end in the race it was a bit better, because the grip is low like always, the drop is higher like always, and if you ride in a smooth way, it works.
“After a good start, was blocked and I couldn’t gain any position, I lose some position, but at the end Rins and Morbidelli did a mistake, which leave me a big door open, from that I think I managed the race in a perfect way because I didn’t push at the maximum, I didn’t use too much rear tyre and that gave me the possibility to be consistent until the last lap. The competitors lap by lap dropped, so I’m happy about that, to gain in MotoGP a lot of positions is very, very difficult.
“So pretty happy, it was very important to come back to the podium after that two race, because in Silverstone we have a chance to fight for the victory, but I couldn’t and the second race in Misano it was very bad, we struggle a bit from the test. So pretty happy, also the championship against Marc is worse, against third is better, so I’m happy.”
Whilst Dovizioso lost another five points to Marquez, leaving him 98 points behind the Spaniard, he did extend his lead over third placed Alex Rins to 46 points.
“The gap is positive, I didn’t check the pace, but I think Rins was very fast, I expect Rins in the race pretty strong,” he said.
“So I think he will try until the end in Valencia, so we have to stay focused and stay on the podium.”
Dovizioso has struggled a lot more in 2019 than he has in the previous two years whilst battling against Marquez. When asked what the biggest difference between previous years and this year, he said: “It’s impossible to know exactly the details, because you have to do a comparison with the other bikes and the other riders, so you can’t really know 100%.
“I think every bike affects the Michelin tyres, which kind of tyres they bring, and which grip you find in that track is different. For example, the Yamaha was so fast in the practice, but struggle a bit more in the race. I think because the grip is different in the race, you have to ride in a different way. I think they improve in some stuff, but still not in some other stuff.
“The only strange thing is Marc, he’s difficult to analyses as he is always there, in every race he fights for the victory and this is very, very difficult for sure. For me is I can be pretty sure we are a bit better than last year, but the tyre change, the asphalt change and the competitor works so hard.
“And this season some competitor is strong than last year, so we are in a big group. So, every weekend there is a big mix, sometimes we can see the same race as last year, but most of the time no, because they are better than last year and every time is like this.”