In the last three rounds Andrea Dovizioso has missed out on his first Repsol Honda podium by 0.562sec, 0.053sec and now just 0.052sec!

The Italian's latest fourth place came in Sunday's Grand Prix of Catalunya, when the #4 finished just a whisker behind Casey Stoner's Ducati, having fought his way past Randy de Puniet and team-mate Dani Pedrosa earlier in the race.

"We had a great race today and we finished only nine seconds behind the winner - this is a very important point because we are getting closer every time," said Dovi. "We only missed the podium by 52 thousandths of a second, which is a pity because I really like this racetrack and we were fast for the whole weekend, so the podium was the target and it was within the reach.

"I didn't have a good start and it took me some time to overtake Randy and then Dani which meant I had a gap to close before I could reach Stoner. Maybe I should have tried to attack Casey with six laps to go, when he slowed down, because later I didn't have any other chance," he confessed.

"Andrea fought very hard to close the gap to third place and was very close to taking the position," said team manager Kazuhiko Yamano. "His pace was very impressive today and with this kind of form he should get the podium finish he deserves soon."

Despite being forced to wait at least another race for his first podium of the season, Dovizioso has at least taken fourth in the world championship from team-mate Pedrosa, who finished sixth on Sunday.

Dovizioso will be the only Repsol Honda rider testing at Catalunya on Monday, while Pedrosa rests his injured hip. Dovizioso is expected to try the modified RC212V chassis.