Andrea Dovizioso believes the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix should be positive for both him and Ducati due to the Motegi circuit’s layout, which could prove timely considering the improvements of his rivals for second in the 2019 MotoGP championship.

The 33-year old Italian stressed the need to be “careful” in the coming races, referencing the recent improvements of Yamaha, which have led Maverick Viñales to close within 52 points of his second place in the championship table.

Having left Thailand “very disappointed” at the 11.2 second deficit to race winner Marc Marquez, Dovizioso “expects to be strong” in Japan, with the “stop-and-go” layout ideal for his riding style and Ducati’s GP19’s braking prowess.

“We tried during the weekend to improve our speed in the last two sectors, but we couldn’t be fast enough. The first two sectors we were a bit faster. Our bike accelerated so well.

“But on the other [parts of the] track we [lost] too much. I couldn’t stay with them. I did a good start. I was fourth. I was close to Maverick. I had a chance to stay with them, but I didn’t have the possibility from the first lap to try to stay with them.

“I was very disappointed. But this is the reality. We have to continue to work and find a way to be a bit more competitive in the middle of the corners. It depends a lot on the track and the tyres… but especially the track.

“For example here I expect to be strong. There is a lot of stop and go. I think our bike will work very well. But in some corners where you have to do speed in the middle of the corners we are struggling a little bit more compared to the competitor.

“I wasn’t too surprised in the race to make that result. Unfortunately the gap was too big. That was the bad part. We keep working. We have to be focussed to finish second in the championship.

“This is what we can do. We know how strong they are. They’ve become a bit better, especially the Yamaha riders. So we have to be careful. There are four races [left]. We want to start with a good result here.”

On why Motegi lends itself to his riding style, the two-time MotoGP runner up explained, “I think my style became my style because of the 250 two-stroke, the chassis was really good and my braking became so good.

“After that I kept that style for other bikes and this is my way to approach the tracks. Normally when I have to do strong braking and stop and go I am quite good. Our bike works well in that way. That’s why I think we can be competitive here.”