Andrea Dovizioso felt a rough pass by fellow Italian Marco Simoncelli cost him a shot at the podium in Sunday's Qatar MotoGP.

The factory Honda riders, Dovizioso for Repsol and Simoncelli for San Carlo, were inseparable for almost the entire race, until Dovi retook fourth on lap 17 of 22.

The Italian then closed fast on fading team-mate Pedrosa, setting his best lap on his last lap as he crossed the line less than a second behind the Spaniard.

"I'm a bit disappointed because our target was the podium but all in all I had a good race," said Dovizioso. "We ran with a strong pace and the bike was constant but we need to make another step forward to stay with Casey and Dani.

"I lost time in the fight with Simoncelli, his passing manoeuvre [on lap 8] was at the limit in my opinion. This was a crucial moment because we lost time which we needed to fight for the podium.

"I want to thank my team for the work done on the bike. I'm also happy of my physical condition because I finished the race without being too tired although racing here is demanding."

Simoncelli meanwhile was over the moon with fifth.

"I am delighted!" he smiled. "I was a bit too nervous over the first few laps, but it was so good to be racing at the front of the field that I almost didn't finish the race! Joking aside I am really happy because I thought my pace would be in the 1'56s but we were able to better it.

"At one point when I passed Dovizioso I thought I might be able to go after Lorenzo but I made a little mistake and it broke my rhythm. Then at the end in the battle with Dovizioso I was slightly slower than him on used tyres and I dropped off.

"Anyway, it was great to see the others so close up and I am sure this was my best race - maybe not the result but in terms of my consistency and the distance to the race winner. Now we need to take another step in the next race and have fun with the guys in the team, who have done a fantastic job."

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