Andrea Dovizioso struggled to hide his disappointment at the close of MotoGP qualifying day at Assen with the Italian lamenting the turning limitations of Ducati’s GP19 that hampered his efforts at Assen.

Thanks to an eleventh place in Saturday’s Q2 shootout, in which he lapped a sizeable 1.6s off Fabio Quartararo’s pole position lap, Dovizioso cut a dejected figure in Ducati hospitality. “The problem is always the same,” he said.

The Italian’s pace isn’t bad, evidenced by his fifth place in FP4. But crucially he was some way behind the leading quartet of Quartararo, Maverick Viñales, Alex Rins and title rival Marc Marquez.

With beating the Repsol Honda here a requisite, this felt as though Dovizioso could see his title aspirations slipping away. On today’s evidence making inroads on the 37-point championship deficit on Sunday appear slim.

“We know in this track when you have to change direction with high speed it’s not the best for us,” said the Italian. “There are some very long corners so it’s not the best for our bike. It depends how much grip is on the track.

“We can be a bit faster or slower. In the qualifying I could make a good lap time. I made a mistake. It’s bad because [eleventh] is a bad position. Our pace is not too bad, but for sure we can’t be happy.

“In the afternoon the lap time wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t like the fastest. Every Ducati didn’t have the same speed as the competitor. I’m a bit disappointed.”

Considering the Sachsenring – a track that has witnessed nine consecutive Marquez victories from 2010 to 2018 – is just a week away, has Dovizioso placed greater emphasis on outscoring Marquez in the Netherlands?

“For sure,” he said. “For sure it will be very important but we will do what we can do. At the moment it’s a bit difficult. Also at the moment Marc struggles a little bit but not like us.

“The Yamaha and Suzuki look a bit stronger. But the race is very long. The start will affect a lot the race. We will see what can happen. I’m not too happy about the speed that we have.”

The 33-year old was equipped with a chassis evolution on Saturday, a detail he believes aids him when entering the corner - a positive aspect, no doubt. But Dovizioso reminded onlookers “that can’t change the situation.”

“You know, I already explained that in the race you can understand better these details because when you change something like that it’s impossible to have a big change. I expected to not have a big change in the test and yesterday.

“I feel better. I feel good. I think it was positive to have that, but that can’t change the situation. I think we have to work more in that area to try to understand what we have to change.”

2018 produced one of the all-time great MotoGP encounters, as high temperatures, winds, and soft tyre choices led to a memorable eight-rider fracas.

According to Dovizioso the chances of this reoccurring are dependent on his – and other Ducatis – starting well, and disrupting the possible early rhythm of the front four.

“I don’t know because there are some fast riders in front. But also Marc is on the limit but he will make a strategy so we will see. It depends a lot from our start and in which position I am at the beginning of the race.

“Anything can happen, especially at this track. But it’s not too easy to overtake and there are a lot of changes in direction so really anything can happen.”

 

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