Factory Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso admitted that he didn’t have the speed to stay with Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez, with the Italian settling for third place in Sepang.
The Italian suffered in qualifying, leaving him starting down on the fourth row in tenth place, but a lightning start from his GP10 saw him get off the line and was quickly up the sharp end of the field. After working his way past Jack Miller into third, Dovizioso’s next target was the man who started alongside him on the grid.
The Italian admitted that after following Marquez past the Aussie, he didn’t have the pace to go with the World Champion, admitting he was missing something.
“That start helped me a lot, we knew we had to do that to try to fight for the podium,” said the Italian.
“I was in a good position, but Jack was a bit too aggressive at the beginning like always, he tries to be at the front. I lose two positions, but in any case, I didn’t have the speed to stay with Marc. I miss something, I was trying, I did some mistakes as I was really on the limit.
“So, I am really about the result, as we never did that good a race in the dry in Malaysia, so this is good with the heat and the gap is not too big. But I had the chance to try and make a better position, but we couldn’t, we didn’t have the speed, not happy about that, but in the end, it was important to come back on the podium, especially after the bad qualifying.”
Once Marquez was out of reach, Dovizioso’s attention turned to those behind him, specifically Valentino Rossi. The last ten laps of the race saw the Yamaha man all over the rear wheel of the Italian’s GP19. Dovizioso managed to hold off the Yamaha man, but admitted that as he never had a stint behind Rossi he didn’t know where he may attack. Despite this, Dovizioso said he knew he could trust Rossi not to do anything stupid.
“When you never follow a rider, you never really know the points in every corner,” he said.
“I know his style and the style of the bike, so I don’t know every detail, so it was a bit difficult. But I wanted to stay in front, because with the heat, if you follow the riders here it’s even worse. So, I stayed in front and tried to manage.
“For our bike, we are so slow in the middle of the corners, but we can accelerate better. For a rider behind me, it’s always difficult, especially if you’re on a Yamaha. In the middle of the corner you can be faster, but there wasn’t a really fast corner to make a difference on the exit, and on acceleration I was a bit better. So, I slow down a little bit in the middle of the corners, because the tyre didn’t give me the possibility to be faster.
“I couldn’t make the speed in the middle of the corners like the practice, so I slow down and tried to cut every corner. Our lap time wasn’t bad, but I didn’t have everything under control. But when he overtakes me, I could see he was really on the limit.
“So, it confirmed he didn’t have a lot of cards to use with me, but Valentino never gave up until the very end, but he’s not crazy on the overtake. He is aggressive. But normally doesn’t make stupid things, so the battle was nice, and I was able to answer in a clean way and it work for me.”