No one could accuse Andrea Dovizioso of not expending the required effort in a dramatic MotoGP championship showdown at Valencia, but the Italian admitted he was riding “completely over the limit” in the laps before a crash that ultimately extinguished his slim title hopes.

At a track that historically favoured neither him nor Ducati, Dovizioso was right on the ragged edge when following team-mate Jorge Lorenzo through the race and attempting to maintain the pace of leading trio Johann Zarco, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

Upon seeing Marquez’s miraculous moment at turn one on lap 24, Dovizioso knew nothing but a win would suffice. From there, he put it all on the line. “I didn’t have the pace,” he said, “but at that time I tried everything.”

A crash at turn eight was the consequence of the Italian going above and beyond his package’s capabilities. “The tyre dropped enough,” he explained, “and I couldn’t stop the bike. The rear was sliding.”

A valiant effort, totally in keeping with his season, but, as he said, “it was not enough.” Still, second in the championship, 37 points behind four-time premier class winner Marquez leff the Italian feeling “proud” and “happy.”

“I didn’t know about the message,” Dovizioso said, referencing the dashboard communication Lorenzo was seeing. “At the beginning I was a little bit faster in some parts of the track but in the last part of the track I was so slow. During the weekend I take a minimum of three tenths per lap from Jorge. In the race I was better – much better – but still I was slower.

“In the middle of the track I was able to overtake but I couldn’t find a way. But after a few laps he started to ride in a better way and I had the same pace as him. And I was completely on the limit like him. So after five laps we push 100 percent from the beginning until the end. We had the same pace as the leaders but we were pushing over the limit all of the race.

“That’s why Jorge crashed and I crashed. We didn’t have that pace. We were not so far. We’re speaking about two tenths, but when you’re pushing so hard two tenths can be big. So that’s what happened and apart from the first few laps. Just because Jorge tried to help me to be [more] smooth than the weekend doesn’t mean that I was smooth.

“I used a lot of energy and the tyres. I was completely finished because I couldn’t ride smooth enough. I was able to stay in the first group until the crash. I want to take the positive things also from that because we are more competitive than last year. I’m more competitive than last year in Valencia so I’m really happy about that. But the result confirms that it was not enough. But we’re not too far. It’s not enough. For sure the point we have to improve is the turning and we have to be smooth on the riding on the bike.”

On the crash, Dovizioso added, “I was completely finished at that time and when I saw Marc make a mistake I thought I don’t care about the podium and I want to try to win. I didn’t have that pace but at that time I tried everything. I braked very hard at turn eight because it was my good point on the track.

“But the tyre dropped enough to mean I couldn’t stop the bike like five laps before. I was too long. I couldn’t stop the bike, the rear was sliding. I went wide, on the white line and out of the track. I was completely over the limit for a long time. I could stay there but it was like this.”

In the wake of his title triumph, Marquez admitted to feeling “rigid” on the bike. How did Dovizioso feel he had handled the occasion? “About me, I was really relaxed before the weekend. Friday and Saturday so-so because my speed wasn’t good enough.

“Also Friday I knew it wasn’t enough and my riding wasn’t good enough. They were two difficult days but I tried to stay relaxed. But especially I woke up this morning with a good feeling. That is always very important. I was ready to make a good warm-up and this helped to be ready for the race.

“I did a really good race. We understood this weekend how to start because this season it was a disaster for me. I gain some positions. I put my bike in the right position in the race. I was quite relaxed but I didn’t have the speed to fight like in most of the races this season.

“But I want to take the positive things. I’m really happy about the team. I can see from the team a lot of happiness. This is real. I’m really happy because we have another year from two days. We have everything on the table. It will be very difficult to improve our negative point but we know very well what we have to improve.”

Undoubtedly the season of Dovizioso’s career, was it possible to feel disappointment in the face of defeat? “It’s normal some people can see this in a bad way,” he explained. “[Some say] ‘It was an important chance and you have to get it,’ but for me it’s not like this. I did six victories, double points than the other Ducatis, what can we do more this season?

“So I think we have to be happy with what we did. For sure everybody has to improve. I improved a lot this year. So it means I’m open to try to improve and I’ll try also this year. Also after this year my mind will be even more open to try and win the championship. This year we started like I would like to but we didn’t [think we] really have a chance before Qatar.”


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