Andrea Dovizioso admitted he simply had no answer to Marc Marquez at Aragon after the championship leader broke clear on the final laps to secure an overdue victory for Honda.

Dovizioso led for most of the race on the Ducati, but the Italian had to settle for the runner-up spot when Marquez made his move a few laps from the finish, edging clear to seal the win by 0.6 seconds.

Afterwards, Dovizioso – whose team-mate and pole man, Jorge Lorenzo, was a faller at the first turn – praised Marquez’s performance and said he had to be satisfied with the result at a circuit that has not normally yielded great results for Ducati.

“We came here with a lot of confidence and from the competitors, they thought we can win the race easy, but it is never like this. I’m so happy how much we improved from last year – this is the point,” said Dovizioso.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t win and we tried until the last lap, but we have to study and analyse the reality and we did a huge step. Also in this race I think we can learn something for the future and this is very positive.”

Dovizioso tried in vain to hang on to Marquez as the race reached a critical point a few laps from the end, but the 32-year-old said he did not have the grip to fight back once the title favourite made his decisive move.

COTA #1 - Hamilton Vs Vettel

“I was able to stay with Marc until the end and I expected to see Marc struggle a little bit more at the end, but he had a really good speed. He was riding really good, very well, because on the right corners he was losing a lot for the tyre he had, but on the left corners he was better, so I couldn’t really fight with him,” he said.

“I did some fight, but I didn’t really have a lot of tyre. Second is ok and it is important for the future to improve again, with what we learned this weekend, but we have to be really happy. From the first practice to the race, our speed is really good.”

Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone threatened to force his way into contention at the mid-way point of the race and Dovizioso said he was slightly surprised to see his fellow Italian in the mix.

“A little (bit surprised). I knew from the practice Andrea had a really good pace, but you never know – sometimes in the practice he is fast, in the race, no, so you never know what you can expect. Everybody struggled with the tyres but the real battle was with me and Marc, but I didn’t have enough tyre to really fight,” he said.

“I was trying to stop him but he did a really fast two laps – the last two laps – and that didn’t give me the possibility to stop him.”