Andrea Dovizioso did his best to explain why he doesn't see himself as a MotoGP contender, but rivals Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa weren't convinced.

Dovizioso followed up an emotional home win at Mugello with victory just a week later in Catalunya, propelling the Ducati rider to within seven points of title leader Maverick Vinales.

"Every weekend is going in a different story, nobody can understand the future. Also last year, but especially this year," Dovi explained. "So I don't have any pressure about the championship, I don't want to look at the championship.

"Also because I'm so focussed to develop the bike because we didn't change something before Mugello. So the limits we had when we lost by 11-seconds in Le Mans are the same as now.

"I don't want to complain, but still I believe we have to improve the same things. Mugello is a good track for us, also last year and the year before. And today was a strange race, because it wasn't about the speed.

"In the test I followed Marc, he was pushing a lot and take eight tenths from me in one lap. So about the speed, we are missing something. We work very well during the weekend, were relaxed and manged everything in a perfect way.

"Nobody could push because the tyre doesn't have grip and so I have an advantage in the straight because my engine is stronger.

"So [this race] is not the reality I believe, unfortunately. I want to think in a positive way and also the way you approach like this weekend makes a difference. But still the turning [problem] is the same. The limit is the same as four races ago.

"So I don't want to be negative, but I'm realistic and if we want to fight for the championship - like we say before the season - we have to improve a few things. In some races we lost by 25 seconds this year. Like this you can't fight for the championship because our competitors are too strong. Their bikes and especially the riders.

"So I'm not too excited now and saying 'ok, we can really fight for the championship'. I think the story is different. We have some limit, still we miss something and we have to be focussed on that. Not look at the championship and that we are seven points behind the leader."

Which is all very reasonable.

But on the other hand every factory has had serious handling issues at one track or another this season, with no-one able to fight consistently at the front.

Reigning champion Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who lost their home race to Dovizioso by 3.5s and 6.8s respectively on Sunday, certainly believe he is a serious contender.

"For me, yeah," said Marquez. "He is second in the championship and the way he rode in Mugello, the way he rode here, is fast. But it will be interesting to see also how [the Ducati] will be in Assen and Sachsenring, which are completely different circuits.

"But we know that in Austria they will be really fast. In Brno they can be fast. Anyway, at the moment we have two riders in front in the championship and if they are in front it's because they did something better than us."

Pedrosa, a former team-mate of Dovizioso, added: "Yes, because Dovi has a lot of experience. He rides good. He knows well the bike, so he is able to put the bike in the correct place every race. Consistency for him is always strong and now winning two races in a row, so for sure [he's a title contender]."

Vinales finished tenth on Sunday as he and Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi struggled for grip throughout the weekend.

Marquez is now best of the rest behind Vinales and Dovizioso, sitting 23 points from the top. Pedrosa is 27 points behind and Rossi 28 points adrift.

Dovizioso's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo led the early stages of Sunday's race on his way to fourth.

Ducati hasn't challenged for a title since Casey Stoner left at the end of 2010.

By Peter McLaren

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