Marc Marquez says Andrea Dovizioso “was playing with me” as part of the Italian’s race strategy in the battle for victory at the Austrian MotoGP.

The reigning MotoGP world champion felt the Ducati rider was rolling off on acceleration on the straights during the last few laps to disrupt his rhythm which duly setup their last-corner fight for victory which Dovizioso won with a stunning overtake at the final corner at the Red Bull Ring.

While Marquez didn’t protest against the tactics, he felt it was a clear method his world title rival adopted to hamper him but opted against any drastic fightback knowing second place would suit his championship ambitions given his already healthy points lead.

“The last six or seven laps he was playing with me. He closed the gas a few times on the straights and he had better grip on the exit of the corners,” Marquez said. “I was stronger on braking but on braking you take a lot of risk.

“I said okay we will try but only on our limits. We will not do anything crazy so for that reason I started the last lap in front and tried to defend as I was not able to attack.

“Even like this I had a small chance to win the race, I tried but it was not possible, the most important thing is that we struggled but we finished together with Dovi in the final lap. That is the most important thing in the championship.”

Quizzed on Marquez’s accusations, Dovizioso admits he used the tactic twice during the race to halt the Repsol Honda rider’s braking rhythm to weaken a particular strength the Italian saw in his rival.

“I played not with the speed, because if I had the chance to finish alone I would finish alone in the race,” Dovizioso explained. “I played on the straight twice because if you overtake a rider and you are in front, the rider behind, especially Marc, he is able to brake later and is able to be inside and control the brake.

“If I overtake a rider and stay there [directly in front] I can control the braking and this is what happened twice.

“I had better grip on the right and that is why I was able to be faster because at the beginning of the race I didn’t have that advantage.

“I was exactly the same as him on acceleration but the difference was his drop as it was bad and I was able to accelerate better.”

Marquez says he also lost the opportunity to fight against Dovizioso’s last-corner move when his front brake lever protector made contact with the Italian’s Ducati, forcing him wide, before being dislodged.

“I tried to choose the middle [of the track] but when he overtook me I was thinking that I was able to stop the bike and come back, like he did two years ago,” he said. “But then my protection on the front brake lever was unattached by his leathers or some part of his bike.

“I was going wide with him because my bike was going with his bike. Then I was thinking I would crash but fortunately that piece broke and I was able to stop the bike. I didn’t crash. It was that small contact that lever protector for the front brake which was attached to some part of his bike.”

Despite the late drama, Marquez still holds a comfortable 58-point lead at the top of the MotoGP riders’ standings over Dovizioso with eight races to go.