Factory Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso admitted he was very much on the limit as he finished second to Marc Marquez at the Czech Grand Prix in Brno.
The Italian, starting from the front of the second row, enjoyed a good start and found himself up behind Marquez in the first half of the race, however, as the race went on, the World Championship leader slowly pulled away from the Italian.
Despite not being able to genuinely challenge Marquez, Dovizioso said he was happy with his second-place finish.
“I think we have to be happy about the weekend. From the first practice the speed was there and that was nice after the last two races,” he said.
“Happy also about the race, because at the beginning Marc pushed so hard, and he was so fast, and he have a softer option. So, I knew I had to try to stay there to fight with him. I was really on the limit, but I was able to stay with him.
“But then in the middle of the race when he tried again to push, he brake a little bit later and that was the key to create the gap. I was on the limit; I couldn’t go faster in any area. He was also really on the limit and he nearly crashed, he made a mistake, but he was able to brake a bit later and a bit harder and gain there especially as everybody drop a lot on the rear tyre and nobody could use the rear to be faster. We were really on the limit.
“So, a bit disappointed about that, because I couldn’t fight until the last lap against Marc, that was the target. But the reality is this, this year marc did a step, he can accelerate a bit better, and he’s able to make most of the race in front of everybody and create the problem for everybody, because the speed is so high. So, this is difficult.
“The tyre works in a different way when you make this kind of race, it’s harder for everybody to stop. But I think we did everything for the maximum. The start was good, I was behind him and I pushed so hard, but I couldn’t keep that speed to the end.
“Tomorrow there is a test, I’m happy, we have some parts to try, it’s what we can do to try to improve the situation.”
Whilst trying to stay with Marquez, the Italian saw Marquez have a big moment at the bottom of the hill. The Spaniard saved the crash, and even put time into Dovizioso on the lap. Despite the incident, Dovizioso said that he had nothing more to try and close the gap back up to him.
“Unfortunately he did a mistake one lap and a half after he tried to push again, so already he had some small gap in that moment,” he said.
“A small gap, but when you’re on the limit a small gap is big. When you are Marc in this case, and you make that mistake and on the main straight the gap is more than the lap before, then the rider behind you is finished. So, think he saw that.
“I tried to keep the maximum speed for two to three laps, because you never know. Because he was struggling a little bit with the left rear as he have a different tyre to me.
“So, I hope for many things, but any of that didn’t happen. So I was trying, trying, trying, but from the first lap, we push one hundred percent. He slowed down two to three laps when I was really close, but he start again. Until that mistake, I think we push one hundred percent.”
The stat of the race was delayed by approximately forty minutes after a rain shower left just the first and final corners soaking wet. When asked his opinion on the delay, Dovizioso said: “I agree with Marc,” he said.
“Unfortunately, sometimes some riders push in the way that is better for him, but in this case, like Marc said, it’s nice they can hear us and we can speak, we can give some feedback. Sometimes they take our decision, sometimes not, but I think it’s really good. Especially because we’re racing on the bike.
“To arrive on the first corner completely wet on the slicks is very, very, very dangerous. I think they took the right decision in this case.
“Because the last and the first corner it was completely wet, but the rest of the track was completely dry, so it was just dangerous for the start.”