After starting the season with four podiums in five races, Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso heads to this weekend's Assen round on the back of two successive DNFs.

Those incidents, a sprocket problem at Mugello and fall at Catalunya, have caused the Italian to slip to fourth in the standings. Dovizioso is now 55 points from leader Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), who had labelled Dovizioso as a title contender during his early podium run.

"I was very disappointed about my crash at Barcelona, because we could have scored some good points for the championship, but I also know we are working well and this gives me the opportunity to fight for the podium at every round," Dovizioso said.

"At Assen it is important for us to come back to the podium and confirm our speed. The Dutch track is unique because of its particular layout, but also because of the weather conditions we usually encounter during the race weekend. In any case, we have to look at the positive things: we have a very fast bike and for sure we will be competitive at Assen."

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Team-mate Andrea Iannone has moved 11-points ahead of Dovizioso in the championship standings after sealing a career best second-place at Mugello, then producing a damage-limitation ride to fourth in Catalunya.

"I hope the Desmosedici GP15 will go better around Assen than at Barcelona, because it was a difficult weekend for me and for my team in Catalunya and for sure I want to improve on my result in the Netherlands," he said.

"I've won before in Moto2 in 2010 at the Dutch track and I like it a lot, but I also know that in the past Assen has been a bit tough for Ducati. However this year we have a new bike, which still has a lot of untapped potential, and I am sure the GP15 will allow me to fight for the leading positions."