One of the keys to Andrea Dovizioso's (provisional) victory in the Qatar season-opener was containing a charging Alex Rins in the middle stages of the race.

Every time the Suzuki rider made a successful bid for the lead, Dovizioso used Ducati horsepower to draft back ahead of the Spaniard.

"I expected Rins to be strong, even if yesterday he crashed twice. He is so good in the race and his speed in the middle of the corners is embarrassing!" Dovizioso said.

"I mean, his bike I think is completely the opposite of my bike. I can accelerate so strong, I can be very fast in the straight but in the middle of the corner I'm struggling a lot."

But it wasn't the Suzuki's speed that was Dovizioso's biggest concern, but the timing of it. 

While in the lead, Rins wanted to raise the pace to a level that Dovi felt was unsustainable for the race distance.

"I wanted to stop him every time [he took the lead], because it was too early to push. Nobody can push for the entire race with the rear tyre. So I think he started [to push] too soon.

"So I was able to stop him and continue to save the tyre and that was a perfect strategy to fight with Marc in the last lap."

Dovizioso held off Marquez's last gasp attack by just 0.023s as just 0.6s covered the top five, a reflection of the way in which tyres must be managed over the race distance.

"I think MotoGP now is really different to past. Valentino finished 0.6s behind and was fifth. I think nobody tries to make the fastest race. Especially because you can arrive at the end of the race in a really bad situation," Dovizioso said.

"So I think the best strategy is to try to be ready in the right moment. I think this is what I did. I saved a lot the tyre during the race. That's why I stopped Rins every time. Because to follow him I have to use the rear tyre.

"Thaat is the reason why the gap is so small compared to all the riders. MotoGP now is different I think."

Meanwhile, third place Cal Crutchlow was also impressed by the GSX-RR's cornering ability.

"The Suzuki is strong. No doubt. But I think the Honda is stronger," said the Englishman, adding: "The Suzuki manages the tyre very well, so if they are in front of us you have to push a lot more to be with them.

"The corner speed they carry is phenomenal. And it means if our bike doesn’t go around the corner as fast we have to open earlier to push the tyre more to go with them. Both Mir [8th] and Rins [4th] rode well."



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