Andrea Dovizioso says it is ‘normal’ to want to beat team-mate Jorge Lorenzo after the rivalry between the Ducati riders intensified this year with Lorenzo sealing his first wins on the Italian machine.

Dovizioso is second in the MotoGP world championship behind Marc Marquez and with a deficit of 67 points separating the top two, he is focused on wrapping up the runner-up spot.

The Italian rider is only three points ahead of Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, while Lorenzo is a further 21 points back in fourth.

“It’s always important, it’s normal,” said Dovizioso on the importance of beating his team-mate.

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“To try to be second in this championship is very important and we are focused on that, we are fighting with Jorge and Valentino, so it will be very hard, very difficult, but we didn’t give up during the season. In the middle of the season we didn’t feel so good and we understood there was something we couldn’t manage in a good way like last year, and we work in the details. We found something and now it is the reason why we are in this situation.

“It is a bit better than the beginning of the season. It is small things, but when you put them together you can see the result and you can see from the last three races minimum, especially in a track where we are struggling in the past, now we are fast from the first practice, so it means our base is a bit better,” he added.

“But our competitors are very strong, so it’s never enough and we have to try to be better and we are focused on that and on improving our situation – that is our target, to try to make the maximum this year, but even more for next year. The work we are able to do this year we will put for the next season.”

Ahead of this weekend’s 14th round at Motorland Aragon in Spain, Dovizioso said he expected to maintain the same level of form he has shown in recent races.

“I’m very confident, especially from the test in Misano I think we show a really good speed,” he said.

“In Silverstone, we have a good chance to fight for the victory and here, the test in Aragon was very good; it was quite strange because most of the riders tested the day before and the condition wasn’t good like the day we tested and Honda wasn’t here, so w have to wait to tomorrow to understand the conditions – if (they) are the same as the test.

“But the feeling was much better than last year. I think we are in a different situation because the bike is different, we have a different fairing, different set-up, and from the first exit the speed was much better than last year,” Dovizioso added.

“I expect to have a good speed like in the last few races, but the consumption will affect a lot the result on Sunday, so we have to be focused on that. It looks like the weather will be good so we have every practice to use in the best way to try to be ready for the race.”

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