Andrea Dovizioso expressed his dismay at missing out on victory at the close of Sunday’s memorable MotoGP duel, as a wrong rear tyre choice left him chasing grip from mid-race distance.

The race winner here last year, Dovizioso fancied his chances of replicating 2017’s heroics after narrowly missing out on pole position by just two thousandths of a second in qualifying. Free practice pace showed his optimism was grounded in reality.

Yet a “hard overtaking” move from Marc Marquez at turn three on the first lap pushed him behind team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, and after the first lap, the Italian was unable to climb higher than third.

Dovizioso felt he had better pace after finding his rhythm with the medium rear than the Majorcan, who was conserving his soft before a final push. But he would ultimately pay the price for consuming too much rear rubber when repeatedly attempting to get by the Ducati just ahead.

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“I couldn’t put [myself] in the right position from the beginning,” said a frustrated Dovizioso. “After the hard overtaking from Marc, I was sixth in turn four. I overtake immediately three riders, but at the end I was third and Marc start to push. The position was fixed in that moment and start the race after the first lap.

“We can stay there with the same pace, but at the end maybe the tyre choice wasn't the best, but also I couldn't overtake Jorge.

“I used maybe too much the rear tyre to try to overtake Jorge and I couldn’t overtake him. I was faster in that part of the race, but I couldn't really prepare in the best way the overtaking. That cost me for sure because I had to slow down too early, ten laps to the end.

“I did a small mistake, but already I was in trouble with the right side on the rear tyre. Very disappointed because we have a chance to bring more points in our championship. But at the end when you make just two practice on the dry, this can happen.

“This means we didn’t take the right decision, but sometimes we are good, sometimes we are not perfect. When you don’t make the perfect decision, is good because you can learn for the next round. This is something we did from last year and it works.

“The championship becomes interesting. Valentino [Rossi] is closer and closer [in second]. For sure there will be a battle from me and Jorge until the end. Let’s see.”

On his reasons for choosing the medium rear, Dovizioso, now fourth in the world championship, a point behind his team-mate, explained the rain affected free practice sessions on Friday and Saturday deprived him of adequate track time to make the correct choice.

“It wasn’t easy to make a right decision. We did a good qualifying with the medium. Today was hotter. We thought it was a good choice. But I’m not that kind of rider who wants to say the problem was the tire and that’s it. I don’t know how much is the choice of the tire or how much I used to the tyre to try to overtake Jorge. We can’t know that.”

Was there ever a moment in the race when Dovizioso felt he could have benefited from a Lorenzo-Marquez clash on the final lap?

“I expect some hard moves because Marc for sure I saw his style,” smiled the 32-year old. “He wanted to really win this race, until at the end. But Jorge have some parts of the track where he was faster. So I expected a battle until the last corner. In turn four in the last lap, Marc lose too much.

“He was trying to stay with him until the last two corners, but Jorge was faster in the middle of the track, especially in the exit from turn 8. Marc was trying to prepare the last corner, but he brake too late the corner before the last and he went a bit wide and he couldn’t try.”

 

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