Andrea Dovizioso concedes the performance gap between MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez to himself and the rest of the grid ‘is ridiculous and it is too much’ but remains faithful of closing the deficit ahead of 2020.

The Ducati rider has secured a third consecutive MotoGP world championship runner-up spot behind Marquez thanks to his seventh place finish at Phillip Island last time out but takes small comfort from it given the current 135-point deficit he has behind the Repsol Honda rider.

With focus turning to Ducati’s performance problems after struggling with early race pace and in good grip conditions compared to is rivals, Dovizioso says results in the final two races won’t be paramount compared to cutting down the gap to Marquez.

But while Dovizioso concedes his own concerns, he believes it is a feeling shared between the rest of the MotoGP riders when trying to match Marquez’s current level.

“Everybody in this championship is working at the maximum, it doesn’t matter the result, and we will continue like this and put the effort in,” Dovizioso said. “In this moment it is difficult to know what we really have to do as the gap is ridiculous, it is a bit too much.

“Everything is possible as the last two years we have fought more so I think we have a chance to come back and fight again but every year like always it is a different story.

“I think in this moment everybody is worried as it is difficult to know exactly what you have to do. I know what I would like to have different but to be able to do that and have that from the bike, from my style, everyone is working so hard. It is not about that.

“When there is a big effort from a lot of people, engineers, everything can come out. We will push and in this moment it is a bit difficult but it is the same for everybody.”

Dovizioso has also repeated fears Ducati’s pace hasn’t progressed compared to last season and with his current early race woes the Italian feels he cannot put together a competitive strategy in the same way Marquez has been able to this year.

While Marquez has been an almost constant presence at the front, Dovizioso has frequently been playing catch-up over the final laps of races. With just two wins to his name all season, Dovizioso last finished ahead of Marquez back in Austria when he won their final-lap duel.

“We don’t have the same speed as last year,” he said. “We speak about the real speed in practice and at the beginning of the race when the tyre is new.

“That creates a really hard situation for us as we are not able to make a good strategy. When you push at the beginning you don’t have the speed and everything is a problem.

“This is what happened and I was able to manage myself in the right way in a lot of races and that’s why I was able to stay calm when I didn’t have the pace at the beginning of the race.

“I managed to ride in the right way and at the end I was able to make the same lap times so at the end I was able to gain seconds and positions but it is not enough. It is not what we need, we have to be better.”

The Italian rider has a 57-point gap over Suzuki’s Alex Rins in third place in the riders’ standings meaning he cannot be caught over the final two rounds of the season.

Dovizioso finished in sixth place at last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix when he led home a quartet of Ducati riders but was over 11 seconds behind race-winner Marquez.



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