MotoGP

Dovizioso: 13th really bad, pace for second group

Andrea Dovizioso admits his strategy was not the correct one in Q1; “The first few laps it will be like every year: very difficult to manage.”
Dovizioso: 13th really bad, pace for second group

Andrea Dovizioso believes his qualifying performance has hindered chances of a third consecutive MotoGP finish in 2019 after a strategy error was responsible for his absence in the afternoon’s Q2 shootout.

The 33-year old was pushed out of the all-important top two positions at the very end of Q1 after opting to spend the full 15 minutes on one set of tyres. Stopping mid-session to fit a new rear, he admitted, would have prevented such drama.

Starting from 13th will be precarious, Dovizioso believes, due to the nature of the long, technical Circuit of the Americas track. Challenging a host of names for second place will be exceedingly difficult.

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“It was very important to start on the first three rows and unfortunately I couldn’t get it,” he said. “I’m very disappointed about that. I thought after FP4 the condition of the track wasn’t so good.

“I wanted to do one run of more laps instead of two. I waited two minutes in the box because the track becomes better at the end of the practice.

“But in the end the track is quite good to start from the beginning so putting two tyres was a better decision. I lost some tenths about the strategy and that didn’t give me the possibility to go into Q2.

“And that’s really bad because at this track our speed is not wonderful but I think we have a chance to fight in the second group after Marc. Our pace, I think, is very similar to Valentino [Rossi], Jack [Miller], Maverick [Viñales], [Alex] Rins, [Cal] Crutchlow…

‘It’s very important to start close to them to try and fight with them. I don’t know if it will be possible. The start is very short. There are some places to overtake but in much of the track there only exists one line so it’s very difficult to overtake.

“We are not in a really good situation but it is what it is. We have to be calm and choose the right tyre. We really don’t know which tyre is better tomorrow, front and rear. There are a lot of question marks but we have to stay calm and try to bring the maximum.

“The bump is a problem maybe more for us. But today the limit wasn’t the bump. I struggled with the wind. In the fast corners I was so slow. The braking wasn’t precise.

“I couldn’t make a good lap time and I’m really disappointed with that. Yesterday the feeling was much better and I think tomorrow will be like yesterday. But we will start from the back.

“The condition of today, anyway my speed wasn’t good. If I was in Q2 I would be faster like Danilo. He improved by more than one second. But this is normal. The track became better and you have more rhythm.

“Sometimes if you go through Q1 then you have a better feeling for Q2. I’m very disappointed but my lap time, it wasn’t good enough.”

Asked how he foresees the beginning of Sunday’s race, “I think it’s almost impossible to overtake a rider in the chicanes, in the first part until turn eleven. Also the last part is very difficult. First it’s a track where you have to keep the angle for a long time, and this means it’s difficult to overtake.

“Second it’s very difficult to prepare the corners and overtake because the corners are very slow. There are five corners like this. If you want to prepare the corners to exit fast you open the door. The first few laps it will be like every year: very difficult to manage that.

“The track is long so you can overtake easily in turn one. In turn eleven, twelve, 13, 15, 20… It’s not too bad. But it’s very difficult to do it in those corners because there you’re doing it in first gear.

“It’s so slow and the angle is like this. A small mistake, you are out of the track. You have to be very careful. It’s easy to go out of the track.”

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