Despite starting 13th and finishing seventh, Andrea Dovizioso moved closer to the MotoGP title lead at Aragon.

The Ducati star came into the event 18 points from Fabio Quartararo and, although he remains fourth in the standings, the Italian is now only 15 points behind new leader Joan Mir with four rounds to go.

"We struggled a lot during this weekend, I started 13th but at the end I still survive for the championship," Dovizioso said. "So we have to be happy about that, but we need something more for next week.

"It's not possible [to win the title like this]. Not big, but we have to do a step, for sure."

Petronas Yamaha's Quartararo has been the man to beat in the MotoGP standings since the opening round at Jerez, but Suzuki's consistent form in a season of uncertainty has now taken Mir to the top despite being without a race win.

"Already before Le Mans, I think Mir was the strongest because he was more consistent than everybody," Dovizioso said.

"Yes it's true Quartararo won more races and that is important, but at the end if you look at every race, the Suzuki at the end of the race is always here. And that is really important to make points for the championship.

"I think it will be very hard to fight with them but what happened today to Quartararo is another confirmation that every week everything can happen."

Quartararo plummeted from pole position to 18th place after struggling with rocketing front tyre pressure.

The Frenchman's woes, combined with 'only' a third place for Mir and fourth for Maverick Vinales, gave Dovizioso and Ducati something of a get out of jail free card in terms of the championship on Sunday.

But they can't keep relying on the misfortune of others and need to find at least six seconds - even if their rivals don't improve, which they surely will - to be in the podium fight in next Sunday's Aragon repeat.

"It's difficult because like every double race this season the competitors improve a lot, but I believe if we have hotter weekend we have a bit more margin than the competitors to improve," Dovizioso said.

"Because we were not allowed to really work during this weekend because three of the free practices were so cold and in these conditions we destroyed the soft tyre. We don't understand why, but the Ducati riders compared to the competitors destroyed the tyre and we didn’t have a chance to work really.

"We started working in FP4 and if the weekend would be a bit hotter there is for sure a few corners where I was struggling during the race, I was so slow, and we can be better. And we have to start a bit more in front."

One possible step could be to switch from the medium to soft rear tyre, as used by all six riders in front of Dovizioso on Sunday.

"Maybe we didn’t chose the right rear tyre because at the end it was hot in the race and the soft worked better than in practice," Dovizioso said. "As you could see they didn't drop that much, like in practice, and we dropped in the last 5 laps.

"So that is important information and especially Zarco [10th] raced with the soft so we have his data to analyse and understand, the way he rode and the way the tyre worked.

"The Michelins are very sensitive about the temperature and we have to be good in that area to take the right decision next week."

Dovizioso started the race in 13th after losing out on a transfer place to Qualifying 2 after towing his own team-mate Danilo Petrucci to a faster time. However the #4 felt his current bike and tyre package was only capable of maybe fifth place.

"I think - with the tyre choice we did – at the maximum, two positions, not more," he said. "Because at the end the medium worked not that good and we finished the tyre in the last eight laps. So we couldn't stay with the first four riders.

"It will be very important to start on the first two rows next week. But before we have to be a faster in some areas because I was losing a lot at the beginning of the race. I wasn't fast in some corners and when this happens in the race you can't change that and it's very difficult.

"I survived during the race, I did a good start, I was really consistent. So I'm happy because at the end especially in Aragon if you start 13th it's very difficult to recover, you can't push too much the tyre.

"So we have to be happy about that but we have to do something more in practice next week."

Dovizioso was the top Ducati rider on Sunday with Pramac's Jack Miller in ninth, just ahead of Zarco, Petrucci 15th and Tito Rabat 20th and last.

 

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