Andrea Dovizioso conceded that finishing Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas in fifth place, 13 seconds behind title rival Marc Marquez was 'not good', but felt his approach to the weekend warranted praise after a second difficult outing in as many weeks.

The Italian's reward was a return to the world championship lead he had briefly surrendered to Cal Crutchlow in Argentina.

The Ducatis struggled throughout the weekend in Texas, as a bumpy track and its sinewy layout shone a light on the weaknesses of the GP18, leaving Dovizioso and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo some way off the pace on Friday afternoon.

Then, both appeared resigned (as they did in Argentina). But Dovizioso’s decision to use Ducati’s aerodynamic ’18 fairing for the first time at a race weekend coupled with a handful of set-up changes helped with front-end feel.

He would go on to challenge Cal Crutchlow, Johann Zarco and the heroic Dani Pedrosa for fifth place in the race, seeing the Frenchman off with two laps to play to collect eleven valuable points that were sufficient to retake the championship lead.

“This is not a good result,” the 31-year old said on Sunday. ‘This is not a good gap. But in the way we start this weekend, I’m happy because Friday we were very far, and especially without the feeling, a good feeling. That is even more important.

“I think we took the right decision with the fairing and with the setup. We arrive quite late, but it was good to arrive with the speed. At the end I took the maximum.

“We already knew before the race we couldn’t be fast in this track because we know where we improve during the winter, and we knew here it was a problem. So I can’t be happy about that because we confirm still our negative point is too big.

“But at the end, we are first in the championship. The championship is very close, so it’s not too important, but at the end after three races it means we managed the three races in a good way. Not in a perfect way, but in a good way.

"About that, about my style, my riding style, this weekend I’m happy because it was very, very difficult.”

When it was put to Dovizioso that his current haul of 45 points is 16 higher than his tally accumulated this stage a year ago, he admitted this was “a positive thing”. He was wary of expressing too much glee, however, as the Italian feels “all the riders” plus Suzuki are much more capable of scoring good result this time around.

“Last year here we went home with a big gap from the leader. So this is the positive thing. We have to wait [and see if from] Mugello it will be like last year or not. But I’m not so relaxed about that because looks like all the riders are stronger than last year.

“Suzuki is stronger. A lot of riders are strong that struggled last year. So when you can fight for the podium like this weekend, you can lose a lot of points. This is not the best for our championship.”

Does he feel the upcoming tracks will offer some respite? “Jerez and Le Mans, no,” he said. “[It will be] Like last year because the bike is not so different. So I don’t think so. But in Jerez the asphalt is completely different. I don’t know. In the test [in November] we did the best lap, but like three years ago, it says nothing.”

 

 

 

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