Dovizioso: I thought our limit was smaller

Andrea is “disappointed” at missing out on a Spanish Grand Prix podium; says Sunday’s racing conditions underlined the real limits of Ducati’s GP19.
Dovizioso: I thought our limit was smaller

Andrea Dovizioso couldn’t hide his disappointment at missing out on a MotoGP podium in the Spanish Grand Prix, and believes the 25-lap race “was the reality” of his current situation, with the limits of Ducati’s current package a little bigger than expected.

The 33-year old was confident he could challenge eventual race winner Marc Marquez after qualifying in fourth, but he and team-mate Danilo Petrucci took some time to get up to speed.

Come the closing laps, however, and Dovizioso was flying, “taking a lot of risks” with Maverick Viñales and third place just ahead. He would ultimately miss out by 0.3s, finishing fourth, a result that sees him slip from first to third in the championship standings.

Yet more than that, his lack of speed through Jerez’s fast corners underlined their weakness compared to Ducati’s ever-improving competitors.

“Our goal was to make a podium and we didn’t,” said Dovizioso. “This is the negative. The other negative part is the confirmation of our speed in the fast corners. I was struggling at the beginning of the race. I couldn’t keep that speed.

“This is the reality. We worked quite well during the practice and our speed was quite good. Just the race can show the real reality. I didn’t need this race to confirm our negative point of the bike, but I thought there was a smaller limit in that place.

“The practice is one story, the race another. To make a fast lap with new tyres with new grip almost everybody in MotoGP is ready to do it. To make good speed with racing conditions is a different story.

“We are quite strong, but when you’re at a bad track for you or the bike, it’s harder. I think we worked well. Our speed during practice was good. But the race shows the reality every time. Also we had a question mark and unfortunately the race showed that.

“Our speed wasn’t enough to stay in front. At the end our speed wasn’t bad and the gap at the end wasn’t bad. It was positive. I think we’re better than last year. But there are more competitors in a better situation than last year so that’s why we made fourth like today.

“[Alex] Rins confirmed another time he will be a championship contender. Yamaha are struggling a little bit but they are fast. And Marc will be strong all season. It will be hard but our speed and the way I rode was better than last year.

“There are positives,” he said. “But we wanted something more. Our goal was to make a podium and we couldn’t. In the end Maverick was so hard. He made his best lap on the last lap. I did my best lap the lap before.

“We took a lot of risks because we wanted the podium. The fourth position is not really a problem but the speed in the fast corners is too big, the limit.”

In most cases a fourth place, 2.8s off the race winner, at a track that is notoriously difficult for both Dovizioso and Ducati would represent a solid case of damage limitation. But such is Marquez’s relentless consistency, the Italian feels any result outside the top three is damaging.

“Could be,” he replied when asked whether he felt some Ducati friendly tracks were coming up. “But maybe it’s not enough because Marc is strong enough to fight for the victory, the podium in every race when we are at a bad track for him.

“So this is why I’m not too happy. When we struggle we make fourth. It’s good, but it’s not enough. So I’m a bit disappointed for that.”

Dovizioso was unable to contain the early pace of Rins, whose aggressive display was another sign of growing maturity. Having witnessed the 23-year old’s speed in the early laps of the race, Dovizioso echoed his thoughts from Qatar, stating the GSX-RR’s turning ability is “amazing.”

“Suzuki, I think, in the turning is better than all the bikes. Rins, when he overtook me, his speed in the middle of the corner was amazing. It’s impossible for me to understand but maybe in the hard braking they are not so strong.

“It didn’t look like it but maybe they have some limits when a big talent rides the bike it’s always difficult to see a bad point of the bike. But for sure in the middle of the corner they are so fast.”