Andrea Dovizioso says he knew his attempts to challenge Marc Marquez for victory in the Czech Republic MotoGP at Brno were over when he watched his rival make an error but still complete the lap quicker than he could.

Returning from the summer break confident of making in-roads into Marquez’s erstwhile 58 point lead at Brno and Spileberg next weekend – two venues that have traditionally favoured the Ducati package – while Dovizioso got into poised position from turn one, it was as good as it would get for him.

Tracking Marquez through the opening ten laps, when the Repsol Honda rider pushed on as the race entered its second-half he quickly gapped Dovizioso. Indeed, even a mistake at turn ten when Marquez’s footpeg clipped the Tarmac and he was forced to sit up couldn’t hamper his momentum.

“He did a mistake after he’d just begun to push, so there was already a gap. When you are Marc in this case and you make this mistake but the gap is still more than the lap before, this means the guy behind you is finished.

Pleased to be back on the podium and satisfied to be competitive from the off on Friday, Dovizioso nonetheless admits he is ‘disappointed’ that even getting the most from the Ducati wasn’t enough to challenge his title rival.

“I think we have to be happy about the weekend. From FP1 the speed was there, which was nice after the last two races. I am happy also about the race because Marc was so fast and he had the softer option tyre, so I knew I had to stay there to try and stay with him. I was able to stay with him but in the middle of the race, when he tried to push he braked later and that was the key to the gap.

“I was on the limit and I couldn’t go faster in any area. He was on the limit, he made a mistake but he could brake harder and later. I am a bit disappointed because I couldn’t fight to the last lap with Marc, that was the target but this is the reality.

Reflecting on the reasons as to why Marquez has increased his margin over Dovizioso after a much closer battle in 2018, Dovizioso says the tyre tweaks have worked better for Honda.

“Marc has made a step, he can accelerate better and make most of the race in front of everyone, because the speed is so high. The tyre is working in a different way. When you make this kind of race, the tyre works in a different way. We did everything at the maximum but I couldn’t keep the speed until the end.

“Most of the race Marc is in front and can push from the beginning and I think every bike improved from last year and that changed everything. When you have speed and you can manage it, you can adapt every weekend. We can’t race in the same way as last year.”

 

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