Andrea Dovizioso said his perfect strategy helped him defeat reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez in the opening round of in Qatar.
The Italian controlled the race from the front withstanding constant pressure from both Marquez and Suzuki’s Alex Rins, before eventually out dragging the World Champion to the finish line to take the chequered flag.
Dovizioso said he had to stay in front of Rins throughout the race and said his tactic of controlling the race was a ‘perfect’ one.
“I didn’t know really what the other riders could do,” said the Italian.
“I expected Rins [to be] that strong. He crashed yesterday twice, so maybe he lost a bit of feeling, but he’s so good in the race. I also saw him in the test and his speed in the corner is embarrassing. His bike is the complete opposite of my bike. I can accelerate so strong and be very fast on the straight, but in the corner I struggle a lot.
“I wanted to stop him every time, because it was too early to push. Nobody can push for the entire race with the rear tyre. I think he started too soon, so I was able to stop him and control the tyre and that was the perfect strategy. It was the perfect strategy to [be able to] fight with Marc in the last laps.
“I made a mistake on the brakes when shifting, and Marc overtook me, but that give me a possibility to understand the situation of Marc and gave me extra boost, because I understood his grip was worst than mine, but in the breaking he was better.
“My speed was a bit better, so I try immediately to try and overtake him as soon as possible and push, I didn’t give him the possibility. At the end he was able to overtake me in ‘Marc style’, but he’s so good to try and overtake when he doesn’t have the speed, but I was able to answer in the right way, because my acceleration was so good.
“I’m so happy because before the weekend my feeling was so bad. I didn’t have the feeling. We didn’t have the base of the set up, but if you stay calm and work in the right way with the team, these things can happen.”
Dovizioso admitted that he was controlling the pace from the front, preserving his rear tyre, rather than going gung-ho from the start. Dovizioso admitted as much, saying the way MotoGP is now, nobody wins a race going as fast as they can anymore.
“I think in MotoGP now it’s really different to the past,” he said. “If you look Valentino finished sixth tents off and finished fifth.
“I think nobody is trying to make the fastest race, especially because you can arrive at the end of the race in a really bad way.
“I think the best strategy is to be ready in the right moment. This is what I did; I saved a lot of the tyre in the race - that’s why I stopped Rins every time. To follow him I had to use the rear tyre. This is why the gap is so small between all the riders, but in MotoGP, it’s different I think.”