As so often this year, Andrea Dovizioso found himself battling countryman and fellow factory Honda rider Marco Simoncelli for much of Sunday's German MotoGP.

And they were later joined by Factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies, creating an entertaining three-way duel that went down to the final turn.

The fight was narrowly won by Dovizioso.

"It was a good battle with Simoncelli and Spies for fourth position and I'm happy we won this battle!" said Dovi. "We were consistently fast during the whole weekend and even though today we were struggling, we finished fourth."

Just 0.2sec behind Dovizioso was Spies, who capitalised on an error by Simoncelli at the final turn.

"We caught up to [Dovizioso and Simoncelli] with three laps to go and then all hell broke loose!" said Spies. "Simoncelli started trying to find a way past Dovizioso and every time I tried to look to go past, one of them was on one side of the track and the other on the other side.

"It was fair play, they were racing each other but it kind of messed up my game plan! Simoncelli ran wide at the end so I got him again in the last corner. I wish we could have got Dovizioso because we had the pace, we just ran out of laps."

Simoncelli's last-gasp attempt to outbrake Dovizioso saw the Gresini rider run wide and open the door for Spies. The #58 took the chequered flag 0.2sec from the Texan.

"It's a shame because fourth place would have felt completely different," said Simoncelli. "I was faster than Dovizioso for the first half of the race and maybe I took too long to pass him, losing contact with the leaders in the process.

"We passed each other a few times and then the tyre wear was so bad on the left side I was really struggling and it was hard to control the bike.

"I tried everything I could on the last lap but it wasn't enough and Spies also came through. It is a shame but this was still a good race for us because we were close to the front and if we can just find another couple of tenths in race trim we'll be fighting for wins."

Simoncelli, who has crashed in four races this year and been penalised in another, has taken a best finish of fifth so far this season.