Andrea Dovizioso says he’s content with reaching the podium at Sepang but concedes his Ducati didn’t have the pace to catch the front two during the Malaysian MotoGP.

The Italian rider held off both Valentino Rossi and Alex Rins for the final half of the race after losing touch with eventual winner Maverick Vinales and Marc Marquez ahead of him and duly clinched his ninth podium of the season.

Having already cemented second place in the MotoGP riders’ championship this season, Dovizioso says his lack of pace compared to the top two in the hot conditions at Sepang denied him the chance to fight for the win after making an impressive start having been 10th on the grid.

“That start helped me a lot and we knew we needed that to fight for the podium,” Dovizioso said. “I was in a good position but Jack [Miller] was a bit too aggressive at the beginning like always he tries to be in front. I lost two positions but in any case I didn’t have the speed to stay with Marc.

“I was trying and I did some mistakes as I was really on the limit. I am really happy about our result because we never did that good a race in the dry in Malaysia so this is good with the heat. The gap is not that big but I had the chance to try to make a better position and we couldn’t.

“We didn’t have the speed so I am not happy about that but at the end it was very important for us to come back to the podium especially after the bad qualifying for yesterday.”

Dovizioso felt the typical Sepang challenges with dropping grip conditions in hot temperatures for the race impacted all riders, while his biggest weak spot continues to be corner speed where he says Ducati is “so slow.”

“It was very difficult but like every time in the race the tyre dropped much more than in practice so you have to adapt to the new conditions,” he explained. “I thought I would be a bit faster but that is normal. Most of the time it happens especially when the heat is like that.

“For our bike we are so slow in the middle of the corners but we can accelerate better so for a rider behind me it is always difficult especially if you are on a Yamaha because in the middle of the corner you can be faster but there wasn’t a really fast corner to make a big difference at the exit.

“Every acceleration I was better so I slowed down in the middle of the corner a little bit because the tyre didn’t given me the possibility to be faster. I couldn’t make the speed in the middle of the corners like I did in practice. So I slowed down, tried to cut every corner, with a good lap time it wasn’t bad but I didn’t have everything under control.”

Despite conceding the MotoGP riders’ world title to Marquez back in Thailand, Dovizioso has the opportunity to make this year statistically his best-ever premier class campaign.

With 256 points to his name, the Italian rider needs just 10th place or better at the final round in Valencia to surpass his previous highest points tally for a single season which stands at 261 points achieved in 2017.

 

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