Andrea Dovizioso lost the early MotoGP title lead with a sixth place in Argentina, but with three fellow title contenders failing to score the Ducati rider gained breathing room over the likes of reigning champion Marc Marquez heading into Austin this weekend.

Dovizioso is now second in the standings, but just three points from Termas winner Cal Crutchlow. Meanwhile Marquez, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa have dropped to fifth (-18points), eighth (-22 points) and twelfth (-29 points) respectively in the standings.

Rossi's Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales has scored in both races, but is 14 points from Dovizioso.

"Sixth position, with some luck for sure, is very positive for us and for the championship. Three riders fighting for the championship did ‘0’ and that is good," Dovizioso said.

The more worrying aspect for Dovizioso was that, after storming to victory in Qatar, light had been thrown on the Desmosedici's ongoing mid-corner weakness.

"The negative point is we confirmed our difficult situation in this kind of track. When you have to make the speed in the middle of the corner, we are struggling," he said.

"Working properly [without rain] would have helped us to be a little bit closer. But we weren’t fast, so we can’t be happy about that."

Dovizioso avoided speaking in detail about the succession of race day incidents for Marquez, including a clash with Rossi, but felt the Honda rider had 'made a lot of mistakes' given his performance advantage over the field.

"I don’t want to speak about what the six-time world champion has to change like the nine-time world champion," Dovizioso said. "

"But for sure Marc did something wrong. He had a margin to manage every situation and he did a lot of mistakes. His strategy didn't work."

Looking to this weekend's Austin round, Dovizioso's main concern is how the work done to reduce the bumps will affect the tyres.

"Now we arrive at Austin, which is a really nice track but rather a difficult one," he said. "We will have to take into consideration the track conditions, because last year there were a lot of bumps, and also the tyres, which can have a bit effect on the weekend.

"In any case we know our strong points and we also know which aspects we have to work on, so it will be important to get down to work right away in the first session to prepare well for the race.”

Dovizioso’s best COTA result is a second place in 2015, while last year the Italian had to settle for sixth.

After problems with the 2018 wing fairing in the Thailand and Qatar test, team-mate Lorenzo had joined the other GP18 riders in using the standard design during the opening race weekend.

Lorenzo continued with the standard fairing for the start of the Argentina weekend, where he revealed a modified design to fix the mid-corner 'folding' might be ready for Austin.

However a poor practice and qualifying prompted the Spaniard to re-try the current wing fairing in warm-up, finishing a promising fourth quickest in the full wet… But the race was held in Lorenzo's worst-case conditions, a drying track, and he managed only 15th.

“We come to Texas for the third round of the season and it will be another chance to continue to improve my feeling with the bike," he said.

"Even though the Circuit of The Americas is one circuit where I have not yet won a race and it’s not particularly suitable for the characteristics of the Ducati, this year I have a good feeling about it.

"We have to continue working hard and improving our speed, and even though Austin is rather a complicated circuit, everything can happen.”

 

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