Taken out of a podium place at the previous two events, Andrea Dovizioso was forced to retire from Sunday's Spanish MotoGP after a water pump failure.

The factory Ducati star, who had qualified in fourth, was holding seventh when water began to leak onto his rear wheel, meaning his race was over by lap 10 of 27.

"Water went on to the rear tyre and I almost crashed two times. I had to retire," Dovizioso confirmed. "In the last three races I've got zero points and for the championship it's really, really bad.

"Looking at the positives, we didn't crash, which would have been easy and my feeling with the bike is good. I'm going to Le Mans with the same confidence, but we have to analyse this weekend.

"It was quite difficult for many reasons, especially for the rear tyre. In this track our speed was less than the first three races. We will work on that. We knew when we came to Europe that the style of track was different so we have to work on that."

Like team-mate Andrea Iannone, Dovizioso had struggled with wheel spin all weekend.

"I think from the first test in Malaysia until now there were some changes from Michelin. So it became more difficult for everybody to manage the tyres, especially the rear because the grip is not high like at the beginning," explained the Italian. "Everybody is struggling and everybody is spinning and sliding.

"A track like Jerez, which is very small and tight. The corners are very long. You have to keep a lot of angle. Every time you make a strong acceleration in first or second gear, the traction on the rear tyre is a lot, the tyre is struggling.

"That I think is the reason why everybody is struggling. Maybe the Ducati riders more. We have an advantage with the speed but to manage the grip in some conditions can be more difficult."

By Peter McLaren