Dovizioso: We can really fight

Come rain or shine on Sunday, Andrea Dovizioso believes he and Ducati “can really fight” with Marc Marquez for victory at Le Mans.
Dovizioso: We can really fight

Andrea Dovizioso has talked up his chances of taking the fight to title rival Marc Marquez after qualifying fourth for Sunday’s MotoGP outing.

The Italian was one of several names who didn’t time his push for a fast lap time to perfection, as Saturday’s Q2 session offered only a five minute window of ideal conditions before rain intensified.

The 33-year old did, however, post his personal best, which was good enough for fourth, when the rain was falling further and no others – Valentino Rossi aside – were capable of improving.

Even managing a front-end save that was worthy of Marquez, Dovizioso was “really happy” with his second row starting place, and feels confident of a victory push rain or shine on Sunday.

“Marquez is the best to do that but I was able to save the crash,” said Dovizioso, responding to questions on his save. “It was very strange to have that kind of grip in the second time attack.

“Everyone was struggling. Just me and Valentino put the lap time and made a good speed in that moment, but everyone either crashed or was struggling. So if we look at it in this way it’s positive.

“I think in the wet we can fight for victory. Unfortunately in the wet we didn’t make the perfect strategy. But nobody did it. When the condition was there I didn’t push 100 percent because I wanted to save the front tyre.

“In that moment it was dry and in two laps you can destroy the front tyre. I had the soft rear and it was worse. I kept the medium rear to make a really good lap time in the second run. The best condition we found at the beginning.

“In the end I’m fourth. I’m happy. In this condition it’s easier to make a mistake than a perfect lap. I would really like to have a dry warm-up to test something and be more relaxed in any condition.”

Certain forecasts suggest rain could arrive at Le Mans around midday, with showers offering the hope of mixed conditions. How would Dovizioso feel if that were to pass?

“When you have mixed conditions there are many [variations] so it’s important to not over-think that. We have to be focussed in that moment to make the right strategy and have a good feeling.

“But overall I think we can be fast in many conditions. In the dry I want to try something more. In the end in the wet we didn’t try. We rode this morning but it wasn’t really wet. We can’t know how the grip is in the heavy rain, whether it’s bad or normal.”

At Jerez the one-time GP winner in 2019 said that such was Marquez’s strength and consistency, fourth place was no longer enough at one of his and Ducati’s weak tracks. That considered, what would represent a fine result on Sunday?

“It depends on the condition tomorrow, but I think here at Le Mans we are able to fight. We can really fight. Last year Marc won so it’s a good track [for him]. But it’s a good track also for us.

“But I think it’s a good track for many bikes, many riders. Yamaha is there with a lot of riders. Still everything is open. I think we have more chance here. We can be a bit stronger. He can beat us tomorrow, Marc. But I want to fight.”