Andrea Dovizioso says he's “on top” with his race pace but won’t change his approach to the Italian MotoGP despite the championship deficit to leader Marc Marquez.

The Ducati rider will line up seventh on the grid for his home race at Mugello, a race he claimed victory at 12 months ago, and has confidence in his race pace from FP4 to fight at the front again this weekend.

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After back-to-back DNFs due to crashes at Jerez and Le Mans, Dovizioso has slipped to 49 points behind MotoGP championship leader Marquez but says he won’t take different risks to fightback at his home race.

“My approach to the weekend and the race is always the same. To try to bring the maximum we can have, we can achieve. If it's first, I will try, if it's the podium, I will try,” Dovizioso said. “I will not try something stupid.

“Like I said last year and at the beginning of this season, I feel more comfortable when I'm higher in the championship, and it doesn't affect me. Last year when I was fighting for the championship, I wasn't scared to make a mistake.

“I don't feel a bad pressure so I will not change my approach. People who try to take more risk, normally make a mistake so I don't think it's the right way.”

Dovizioso expects multiple challengers in the race at Mugello, echoing pole-sitter Valentino Rossi’s prediction of seven riders in the fight for victory, but feels he’s found a strong set-up with his GP18 during the final free practice session over a race distance.

“FP4 is the important practice to understand the pace of the race, and we were on top, so I'm really happy about that,” he said. “There are some other riders with really good pace, so it could be a nice fight tomorrow with many riders. A lot of Italians but some other riders will be strong like Jorge [Lorenzo] and like Marc [Marquez]. I'm happy about today, because we arrive on the limit to be ready for the race.

“When you have the pace we did in FP4, you have to be happy, because I was third and I was able to keep a good lap time until the end when the tyre was very used.

“We made a few set up [changes], things that are always important to try in a good moment to make a comparison. I'm working always for the race, not to be fast for the practice.

“I speak about a few things. We couldn't fix the limit we have, but we are very close, the speed is there.”