A mistake at the start of the race saw Andrea Dovizioso unable to battle with Andrea Iannone for top Ducati honours at the German Grand Prix.

With the majority of the field all diving into the pit lane at the end of the formation lap to change bikes for a drying track Dovizioso forgot to switch off his pit lane speed limiter for the mass start at the pit exit.

With 14 riders starting from the pits the start of the race resembled a motocross start rather than a MotoGP race start and a mental mistake by Dovizioso cost him dearly.

"At the end of a strange race eighth position is quite good," said Dovizioso. "We're not happy 100% because we weren't able to finish closer to the front but many things happened.

"When we started from the pit lane I didn't switch off the pit lane limiter. Normally with our bike, you switch the limiter off [automatically] when you go into second gear but I didn't think of that.

"I put in the launch control but when I got to 60km/h the bike stopped and everybody passed me. It was my first time [starting from the pitlane]. I didn't think of it and nobody thought of it."

Whereas on pit exit in typical circumstances Dovizioso would already have been riding at 60kmp/h and ready to accelerate, so once he exits the pit lane and clicks the bike into second gear the limiter would disengage.

Starting from a standstill at the end of pit lane however the circumstances were different and in the frenzy Dovizioso hadn't switched off the system, so when he accelerated he did so with the limiter still in place.

For Dovizioso it was a case of an uphill task suddenly made even more difficult and it was ultimately impossible to get into the fight with Pramac Ducati's Andrea Iannone for fifth.

Instead Dovizioso battled with Aleix Espargaro in the early stages before the Forward Yamaha rider opened a gap to the Ducati.

"If I made a good start I could have followed Valentino, not until the end of the race but I could have fought with him and Iannone. I'm not happy because we are eighth and it was possible to get more points but we have to take this experience.

"In the first few laps with some wet corners I was able to push and be fast but in the middle of the group it was very difficult. in the race when I was behind Aleix I lost a lot of time because it was very difficult to overtake him and when I overtook him he would overtake me again."

Riding with the soft front tyre gave Dovizioso good grip in the early laps with damp conditions. but as the track dried and the wear rate of the tyre increased handling inbalance crept into the Ducati.

By the end of the race the Italian lost some confidence in the front end, his pace dropped off and he was left to battle with Pol Espargaro, Alvaro Bautista and Cal Crutchlow for seventh.

Dovizioso repassed Crutchlow for eighth place on the penultimate lap, going on to finish just a few tenths behind Pol Espargaro.

"When the track became dry with the soft front I couldn't push and the front closed too easily, especially on the long corners when I was on the throttle and I couldn't go under 1m 23s and I couldn't stay with Aleix."

Dovizioso remains fourth in the world championship, having taken two podiums this season.