Andrea Dovizioso admitted it was “painful” to finish behind Marc Marquez by an even greater margin in 2019, but spoke glowingly of the new world champion’s latest achievement, describing it as “an incredible season.”

For close to three years, the 33-year old Italian has been Marquez’s closest foe. But the past eight months have been “even harder” for Dovizioso to come to terms with as he failed to live with the Honda rider’s relentless consistency.

Dovizioso noted how Marquez has made fewer mistakes than ever across the past 15 races and “was always there,” racking up nine wins and five seconds. Overcoming such serial success is “very difficult” he said, “but not impossible … and we are working for that.”

“It's painful, because if your goal is to win the championship, it didn't happen. So it's the same. It's even harder, because in this season, he created an even bigger gap than the last two seasons. So it's even worse if your goal is that. So we can say just congratulations to them, because they did an incredible season.”

How can he be beaten? “You know, it's difficult to beat Marc, for everybody,” came the reply. “You can see from the first year in MotoGP, he has been so strong, and apart from his speed, he is so smart.

“So year by year, he understood his limits and he has become better and better. And I think this season it shows a lot of improvement, because he did fewer mistakes, and in the races, he was always there, which didn't happen in the past.

“It's very difficult, but it's not impossible, and we are working for that. At the end, we are second in the championship, it is the third year we are fighting for second place, so we are the second best.

“This is not our goal, but this is the reality, so we have to be happy about that, and from that, we have to improve. Everybody is developing a lot, and every season has a different story.

“If we make a comparison between this season and last season, a lot of things changed. The speed of the competitors, the bikes, the tires, so you have to adapt, and every time there is a different story. You have to be optimistic, and continue to work hard.”

It was put to Dovizioso that the youngest ever eight-time world champion can apply and take pressure and take pressure in equal measure. Does the Italian consider that to be one of his great strengths?

“One of. Unfortunately, it's one of,” came his reply. “It's not only that.”

On his fourth place in Sunday’s Thai Grand Prix, Dovizioso reflected on an outing in which he was faster than the 2018 outing, even though he finished two positions lower.

“The competitors are faster, and the tyres are different,” he said. “We are doing a lot of races with a lot of speed from the first lap to the end. Last year and the year before, the races were different because the tyres were different.

“If you see the pace of [Fabio] Quartararo, it's within three tenths, I think, and so fast. So it's the reality and there is a big change of MotoGP this season compared to last year, so it's difficult to compare our race from last year.

“We are trying to do the maximum with what we have, and we have to understand our characteristic and try to use the best.”

 

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