Andrea Dovizioso feels the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring was a bittersweet affair, as his pace in the race's first half was promising, before a severe drop in rear tyre performance led to an disappointing eighth place.

Coming to Germany as the MotoGP championship leader - a first in the 31-year old's career - Dovizioso was able to contend with Movistar Yamaha pairing Maverick Vi?ales and Valentino Rossi in an exciting battle for fourth.

That was until 14 laps before the chequered flag, when the Italian encountered "big problems" through the Sachsenring's relentless, ever-opening left bends, his soft compound rear tyre "finished", depriving him of drive and pushing him back behind Alvaro Bautisa and Aleix Espargaro.

Opting for the soft rear tyre was, he conceded, the wrong decision. "Everybody missed it," he said, referring to the narrow temperature window needed to make the soft tyre work.

"Apart from the first two riders because they had a good pace until the end. Also Maverick and Valentino were struggling a lot from the middle of the race until the end but my soft tyre dropped in a completely different way compared to them.

"My tyre dropped a little bit later but a lot. I tried for four-five laps to push because until then I hadn't pushed and used the tyre. I was riding to save it a lot and then when I pushed it suddenly finished on the left.

"Fourteen/thirteen laps to the end I started to have a big problem and dropped in a bad way lap-by-lap so I made a wrong choice for sure. I am not happy about the position because we lost some points in the championship but I can take some positive things because the feeling was good."

The result sees Dovizioso fall two places to third in the world championship, albeit just six points behind new leader Marc Marquez. It wasn't all bad however. The Italian was the first of the three Ducati GP17s on the grid.

And, before the tyre deteriorated, he had been competitive, at yet another track that has not always favoured the Bologna bikes in the past. Plenty to build on, then, for the season's second half.

"Aside from the first two I was able to play with Maverick and Valentino and I was a little bit faster but I was trying to save the tyre. I think in the future - like we confirmed in the last few races - we can be competitive in many conditions and this is very important in the championship.

"I am going home with an eighth, which is not the best, but the feeling is good and the championship is there for five riders. It is completely open and anything can happen. I am going on holiday quite relaxed."

By Neil Morrison

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