Andrea Dovizioso has stated he and Ducati “have to be happy” with the outcome of Sunday’s MotoGP encounter in Austin, which resulted in the Italian leaving the USA at the head of what he believes will be a four-way fight for the 2019 title.

An early mistake at turn ten ultimately cost Dovizioso the chance to claim a third straight podium of the year, but it was the combative nature of his first lap which avoided potential disaster and pushed him to the head of the second group.

Thanks to an “amazing” start from lousy 13th on the grid, Dovizioso was sixth at the close of lap one, a position that paid testament to Ducati’s hole-shot device, and the 33-year old’s ability to maintain calm during adversity over the course of a race weekend.

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“My start was so good,” he said. “In my mind it was clear, the line. I did everything as I wanted. Also the other riders did what I wanted! So I put myself in a perfect position, I overtake a lot of riders in the first lap, so I couldn’t make a better start.

“But the speed wasn't there to really stay there with the second group, which became the first group, and that was the key. I lost a lot of seconds after three or four laps because I lose the feeling and almost crashed in turn 10 and I wasn't fast enough in the fast corners.

“So that was the reason why I couldn't stay at the front because my start was amazing and I was behind [Alex] Rins, so I put myself in a perfect position.

“I miss some speed in that moment, but after a really bad moment – because I lose a lot of seconds – I was calm and was trying with [Franco] Morbidelli to understand where I have to be smooth, better, and I understand after that in turn 10 there was a wet patch on the line.

“I think it's the only corner where they put the new asphalt and that wet patch came from under the asphalt because it wasn't there this morning. I don’t know why.

“So when I realised there was a wet patch I just changed the line a little bit and my feeling came back. Still I was too slow in the fast corners but in some other places I was very fast, I saw that with Morbidelli.

“So I overtake him and I start to make a good rhythm. At that moment I was very similar to the fastest riders and this is the positive part of the race.

“I lose too many seconds in four laps. That is bad. But at the end the speed was good, also when the tyre dropped and I saw Jack lose a little bit so I tried to push 100% until the end. Unfortunately, I couldn't catch him half a lap before.”

While there was frustration at missing the podium, Dovizioso stressed “we have to be happy.” He now holds a three-point over the triumphant Rins, and feels Sunday proved the championship credentials of the Suzuki man and runner up Valentino Rossi.

“There are positive and negative things from this weekend,” said Dovizioso. “But I think at the end it is more positive, apart from to be first in the championship, which is really important.

“I think the crash of Marc showed he doesn't have everything under his control. I mean most of the time, yes. But not every time and this is positive for us! Because in the first two races he did something crazy, he was so fast.

“So this is really positive for the championship. I think we showed a good speed so we confirmed our improvement from last year in a bad track. At the end we took a lot of points and we start from the back. I was ready to fight in the race.

“The positive is that we are going to Europe, where I think we can be more competitive from Jerez and we can really fight. The negative is that I think the championship is different.

“Like I already explained in Qatar, I think Suzuki and Rins will fight for the championship. Valentino for sure. And Marc for sure. So these three riders plus me I think we have really a big chance to fight for the championship.

“Also some other riders, but in this moment the championship shows this. So it's not like the last two years where I fight just with Marc at the end of the championship.

“I think it will be different all season. But we are a bit stronger than last year so it will be harder all season to be always there but I feel confident after this weekend.”

According to Dovizioso, the overall runner up in the past two seasons, Sunday’s result “confirms we can fight for the championship and it confirms the last two years we reason why we fight for the championship.

“Because also in a bad condition, a bad situation we stay calm and try to get the maximum. Sometimes it's possible, sometimes not. But that is the way to work. Unfortunately FP2 and qualifying didn’t go as we wanted but always for small things.

“It's difficult because everyone is really fast, most riders have a good bike, so it's not easy to be always perfect. But when you take this and try to learn and be calm and relaxed, the result comes.”

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