Andrea Dovizioso hinted his current championship deficit to Marc Marquez is beginning to appear an insurmountable margin, and said the current gap to the Movistar Yamahas is of greater concern after the Italian could place no higher than seventh in the latest MotoGP outing in Germany.

The result at the Sachsenring leaves Dovizioso 77 points behind current leader Marquez after a set-up strategy failed to come to fruition in Sunday’s punishing 30-lap affair. Coming into the weekend, the Italian was no longer thinking of the gap to the Repsol Honda rider, he said, and Ducati’s focus must be improving a few small details in the second half of the year.

A double podium finish for Movistar Yamaha runners Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales saw both men put further daylight between themselves and Dovizioso in the title race. The Ducati man now trails Rossi by 31 points and Viñales by 21.

“It [the gap] is a lot,” said Dovizioso, now fourth in the championship. “But I’m more worried about the gap to the Yamahas. Already before the race we didn’t think about Marc. Marc did the right thing in many races and he created a big gap. Marc is not different about our speed, compared to Marc is very small, so this is positive. So I’m not worried about that.

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“The championship is a bigger gap, but like before this race and like now we don’t think about championship because there isn’t any reason to think about the championship. We have to still work in the points where we are not good enough, because until you are OK, you can’t fight with Valentino, Maverick, and some others. We are focused on that.

“This track this weekend it wasn’t a perfect track to try to work on that. We confirmed, we showed our bike is better last year in this track, but we didn’t make any jump forward in the right way, this is not the track.

“So I think we can be very competitive and we have to keep working and improve a few things because we are in the group. If we want to fight the top, we have to be even better.”

After qualifying fifth on Saturday, Dovizioso stated he had the pace to fight with the leading names in the race’s first half. The second would be a lottery, he said, as rear grip would drop in the closing laps.

But a set-up switch aimed at conserving the rear tyre, which reduced the Ducati’s power output in two corners, had a consequence: Dovizioso had to over-ride the bike to make up for that reduced power, leaving him physically drained in the closing laps.

“I’m not surprised about the final result of the four Ducati’s on top, because it’s what happened,” he said. “Yes, in the practice our speed was good, but like always the practice you have to study the practice. You don’t have to look just at the lap time. The reality is we are much faster than last year, so this is the positive thing.

“During the practice and at the end of the race. This is the reality. I’m so happy about that. Our bike is a bit better, but with the same DNA. So in the fast corner we can't accelerate and we can't make the same speed as others can, like always.

“So this is the reason why in the race we struggle more and we have more drop on the rear tyre, it's normal. The point where I'm not happy is, I was the fourth Ducati, so it means there was a chance to make something better. But Ducati is much better than last year here.”

And the updated frame he had used in the race? “About the chassis, still it's not clear. We have to test in comparison in a real track, not this one. We did a comparison the first day, and we didn't feel the difference, and at the end we raced with the old one because there was no difference in this track. So for sure in Brno we will compare, and it will be a good track to understand if there is a difference, positive or negative.”

Did his slow start to the race also negatively impact his package in those closing laps?

“A little bit,” he said, “because when you are on the limit of the tyre, it's always better to be on top and manage the tyre, but at the end not really. Because I was too slow in two corners, because we decided to don’t use the power to save the tyre. It's good, it's positive for us, we saved more the tyre than the competitor because everybody spin more than me.

“And maybe at the end I had more tyre. But the reality was, I have to use too much energy to gain in some other points to stay at the same pace as the first group. At the end, I couldn’t stay at the same intensity and I lose more. But it’s always difficult to understand all of these details in practice because in the race, it's always different.

“Yeah, I expected more because you have to expect more. But Sachsenring, it's impossible to know for the race what you can do. Like I said before, I was trying to save the tire in two fast corners, and I was losing a lot.

“But I was able to stay with them, so I thought it was the right strategy but at the end I lose energy and I couldn’t ride the bike in a perfect way. At the end, when you are not able to ride the bike in the right way you lose more than what you can lose from the drop of the tire. That was one of the points.”

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