Dovizioso: We can’t go home with a smile

Andrea Dovizioso takes “the maximum we could get” from the Dutch Grand Prix, but is powerless to prevent Marc Marquez extending his championship lead.
Dovizioso: We can’t go home with a smile

Not for the first time in 2019 “the maximum” during a MotoGP race was not enough for Andrea Dovizioso as the pleasure of securing a fighting fourth place at Assen was tempered by Marc Marquez’s exceptional second place.

The 33-year old had cut a dejected figure on Saturday after he qualified eleventh and fought with the Ducati’s turning issues around Assen’s long corners, fast changes of direction and layout through which he believes it is “difficult to overtake.”

But like Austin, where he qualified 13th, Dovizioso rallied. A fine start allowed him to gain five places on lap one. For the following twelve he stuck to the leading trio of Fabio Quartararo, Marquez and Maverick Viñales resolutely.

Then came the problems. High wind and a fading rear tyre didn’t aid the Italian’s cause and soon he fell into the grasp of Danilo Petrucci, Joan Mir and Franco Morbidelli. Dovizioso nonetheless fought to hold onto fourth for 13 crucial points.

It was another fine ride. But like similar performances in Argentina, Jerez and Mugello, he was powerless to stop Marquez’s relentless march in the title race. The Catalan’s second place now puts him 44 points clear.

“We have a smile because we took the maximum we could get so that is always important during the weekend,” said Dovizioso. “The first thing is to get the maximum and that was the maximum, especially if you start eleventh, especially in Assen with MotoGP is difficult to overtake so I’m happy about that.

“But for sure we can’t be happy 100 percent because this track it showed the characteristic of our bike and it’s normal because the consumption of the rear tyre is really high in this track, there was a lot of wind and it doesn’t help us.

“When you have to change direction with the high speed this is not the best, there are long corners where you have to make the speed there and it’s not our best point. So unfortunately it confirmed something, so we can’t go home with a smile.

“Fourth is not too bad but the gap is too big and unfortunately I’m not too surprised about that. We are not happy because we want more because we want to fight for the championship and again Marc also today he did second but apart of that the speed he had was really good.

“So this is not the best for us.”

On the championship implications Dovizioso continued, “It’s not terrible. It’s not terrible to be fourth if you fight with the first 3 but the point is the gap, the gap is the reality.

“I drop in the middle of the race because I try to stay with them at the beginning but I was really on the limit and I couldn’t keep that speed and I used too much the tyre.

“At the end, when Maverick push, maybe on lap 20 he did a 1m 33.7s and at that moment I was able to make a 1m 34.8s at the maximum, like the last 2 laps. So that is the point and that is the reason why we can’t be happy.

“When you have Marc in this situation it’s bad, because he is always there, first, second or third. And in some races we can’t fight for the podium so we lose more points.

“But the season is long and we will see what we can do in Sachsenring and after that.”

Pressed on next weekend’s German Grand Prix – rarely a happy hunting ground for Ducati or Dovizioso in the past, a stark contrast to Marquez’s nine victories from his previous nine races – the two-time MotoGP runner up admitted “it will not be easy.”

“I don’t think it will be a really good track for us but you know the tyres make a big effect so you never know, we will see. Apart of that, Sachsenring will be hard with all the other competitors apart of Marc, because I expect the Yamaha and the Suzuki very strong, because it’s really long corners on the left.

“It will be not easy but you know, every weekend has a different story and I need to make a step in that track. Last year my gap wasn’t too bad but still there is a margin for sure and I’m focused on that. It’s the only thing I can do.”