Andrea Dovizioso is bracing for “the most challenging circuit” for Ducati of the triple-header at Phillip Island and despite losing out on the MotoGP world title he feels he can’t ease off in the fight for second place in the standings.

The Italian rider moved 55 points clear of both Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Monster Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales who are tied for third place in the current riders’ world championship as he edges closer to securing the runner-up spot having conceded the title to Marc Marquez back in Thailand.

Heading to Australia Dovizioso feels he can’t relax over the MotoGP standings as he braces for a tricky weekend at Phillip Island given the circuit characteristics don’t play to the strengths of its GP19 due to the lack of long straights and heavy braking zones.

But after securing his first podium finish at Phillip Island since joining Ducati last year with third place, Dovizioso says repeating the feat will be the minimum target.

“On paper Phillip Island is the most challenging circuit for us of the three end-of-season overseas races, but it is also true that last year here I finished third, and this is the marker that we must follow,” Dovizioso said.

“The cold and the rain often form part of the weekend in this race, and so anything can happen.

“Even though I gained a few points on my closest rivals at Motegi, I can’t afford to relax if I want to hold on to second place in the standings, and in any case I’m determined to score a good result in Australia.”

Danilo Petrucci also feels optimistic ahead of the Australian round as he expects the cooler conditions at Phillip Island to aid his recent issues with tyre temperatures in races.

“Phillip Island is a special circuit that requires a specific riding style. In the last two races I’ve had some problems with the temperature of the tyres, but in Australia I think things will be a bit different,” Petrucci, who hasn’t achieved a top six finish since Sachsenring, said.

“I’m not far off third place overall [seven points behind], which remains my objective and which I think it will be possible to achieve.

“Obviously I can’t be satisfied with my result in Japan and I want to improve here at Phillip Island because it’s a circuit that I like. It’s a good opportunity for me to make a step forward.”

Ducati last secured victory at Phillip Island back in 2010, as part of Casey Stoner’s stretch of six consecutive wins at his home round, but the Italian manufacturer has never reached the top step of the rostrum without the Australian rider.



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