Ducati spoke to both Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo ahead of the crucial Malaysian MotoGP bow to try and ensure the Italian’s title chances remained open until Valencia, team boss Davide Tardozzi has revealed.

Tardozzi said he was delighted with the attitude of both of his riders during – and after – the conversation, and felt it was clear that Lorenzo rode the 20-lap race in Malaysia with “the factory, the team and Ducati” in mind.

It was a day in which the Bologna factory clinched its first one-two of the season, with Dovizioso’s win setting up a tense title decided at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in mid-November.

And while the mistake of Lorenzo, who was leading team-mate and title hopeful Dovizioso with four laps to go, at Sepang’s final hairpin was clearly not deliberate, a late attack to vie for a maiden win for Ducati was notable by its absence in the final laps.

Lorenzo stated, “I wanted to win the race, to keep pushing to the end, but the front was at the limit and to stay with Dovi until the end, I needed to be too much on the limit.”

But Tardozzi’s words suggest the Majorcan was riding within himself late on to ensure Dovizioso took a maximum points haul from Malaysia, ensuring championship leader Marc Marquez had to at least put his title celebrations on hold.

“We talked with the riders about what can happen,” said Tardozzi on Sunday evening. “Both of them knew the situation and it was obvious that Jorge thought about the factory, the team and Ducati.

“[It was] Something that happened because we told to the riders that, in this situation, it is good to have the opportunity to have the championship open. I think that it would be stupid to give a present to Marc. We know it’s very difficult. Why not keep it open until Valencia?

“But it’s something we discussed before with the riders – just if there is an opportunity like this, or if the situation is like that, that must be the result to keep open the championship. That’s it.”

In the midst of a tense exchange between the Ducati team-mates, Lorenzo received a dashboard message that read ‘Suggested mapping: mapping 8’, text that could have simply been instructing the Majorcan to change an engine map setting as the race neared its conclusion...

...Or, with the stakes so high, it seems it was probably a coded signal for Lorenzo to let Dovizioso by. When pressed on this issue, Tardozzi gave little away, instead pointing to his belief that the five-time world champion was already aware of his supposed role in the race.

“Yeah, but it’s not a matter of messages,” said Tardozzi. “Jorge knows perfectly what is the scenario. With this scenario he knows what is the result. Everything is really simple. We need to keep open the championship and Jorge helps the team and Ducati to keep open the championship.”

In turn, Lorenzo claimed he did not see the dashboard message when it was sent. “Honestly, I just see the laps to the end on the board. I was really focused to not lose the concentration on the wet and the RPM and I didn’t see any message. I would say if it was true, but I didn’t see – just in the parc ferme they told me this message,” he said.

So was Tardozzi confident the Majorcan would have let the Italian by without Lorenzo’s mistake at the final turn that allowed Dovizioso through to lead?

“We haven’t spoken yet with the riders about that. We will do in the next days. But we are very happy about their attitude. They didn’t complain. They have their roles,” Tardozzi explained.

“This year Dovi is fighting for the championship while Jorge has a difficult year in some ways for what is his past. But then maybe next year is the opposite and being part of the team, part of Ducati means that you are somebody that has to do the job for Ducati. That’s it. That is simple.

“We were confident that we could have two riders on the podium, especially on the wet situation because they were first and third in the session they had in the wet. We were confident about that.

“Mainly, we see Jorge before the race and he was really focused. I mean, you can see in the eyes of the rider before the race if he’s going to perform well or not, and Jorge really, as in the song, had the eyes of the tiger. While obviously Dovi’s condition, he is the top rider [in the championship], you know?”

Dovizioso’s win reduced Marquez’s lead to 21 points, after the Catalan could finish no higher than fourth in treacherous conditions. The Repsol Honda rider needs to finish eleventh or higher to secure his fourth premier class crown in five years, and that’s only if Dovizioso can win the final race at Valencia.

Still, today's events give the Italian a chance, even if it's slim.

Marquez said Ducati's use of team orders on Sunday was 'totally normal' given the circumstances.

Pramac Ducati's Scott Redding revealed he was told to finish behind Dovizioso at the previous Phillip Island round.

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