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Dovizioso: ‘We knew Le Mans would be difficult’

Dovizioso: ‘We knew Le Mans would be difficult’

Andrea Dovizioso has admitted that Ducati Team expected a tough French Grand Prix, with the outfit having recorded a best finish of only eighth position despite starting on the front row of the grid.

Having qualified third behind Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro, Dovizioso found himself leading the Le Mans event for the second year in succession. However, the Italian would cross the finish line 22 seconds in arrears of winner Marquez.

“At least I tried!” Dovizioso began. “I made a great start and tried to pull away as much as possible, but after a few laps I could see that I would never have a chance to fight with the front-runners. It’s a pity, but for the moment our gap is still too big and - even if we grit our teeth - we can’t make any strategies or push hard in certain moments of the race. Even after my third quickest time in qualifying, I knew that today was going to be difficult. Now we have to think of our home race at Mugello.”

When asked by what it is currently preventing him from being able to push to the limit across the race distance, Dovizioso replied:

“It’s always the same. When you have grip on the first lap of the race or in qualifying, we ride on a bad line but we are able to go fast; but after one or two laps, that kind of grip goes away and in the race you don’t have it from the first lap. That is the reality. Every championship can be like this, I have experience with that. In MotoGP™, you have to ride in a specific way to be in front and with the limitations we have with the bike – with turning and a few things – we are not able to ride in a good way. This is the result. Today I tried to take everything I could, but we are not fast from the beginning and lap by lap it gets worse. Like I said before, this is not news.”

Team-mate Cal Crutchlow had retired from the previous Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez with brake issues, whereas at Le Mans he was involved in contact on Lap 1.

“Today it was important first and foremost to finish a race and for me that’s good, seeing as how my 2014 season has been so far,” the Englishman started to explain. “I got a great start and felt really good on the bike, but there was a crash on the first lap and I got hit really hard by Hernandez by accident, which gave me a dead leg, and I lost a few places. I also made a few mistakes in the race but it’s clear that for the moment it’s difficult for Ducati to aim for anything higher in the results.

“A big thanks to my team, who are working really hard for us to become competitive, even though the result is not what we hoped for.”

Ducati now moves on to its home Grand Prix at Mugello in Italy, where last year Dovizioso and then team-mate Nicky Hayden finished fifth and sixth from wildcard-entered test rider Michele Pirro, who will be making another appearance this season.

MotoGP, 2014, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Andrea Dovizioso, Cal Crutchlow, Ducati Team

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