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22 days ago
By motogp.com

Double Ducati delight: Dovizioso, Miller earn Aragon podiums

A colossal comeback from Dovi coupled with a terrific ride from the Aussie see Ducati return to form

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller made sure it was double podium delight for Ducati at the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon, with the Italian and Australian claiming P2 and P3 on Sunday afternoon.

Starting P10 after making a mistake on his flying lap in Q2, Dovizioso had plenty of work to do to stake a claim for an Aragon GP rostrum. However, the man second in the Championship made a solid start and after Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) came into contact at Turn 12 on Lap 1, a gap appeared for Dovizioso to pounce on the top six. Then, ‘DesmoDovi’ simply chipped away, carving his way through the pack to P2 – his second consecutive Aragon P2.

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In 15 mins: Aragon Grand Prix MotoGP™ highlights

“The reality is that when I was on the grid and I was tenth I saw too many riders in front of me. Then on the start, everybody blocked me and I couldn’t really gain a lot of position, so I thought today would be difficult,” began Dovi.

“In the end, I was a bit lucky with the Rins and Morbidelli incident because that opened the door to me and I was able to manage the race in a perfect way. I gained some tenths but I didn’t push 100% with the rear tyre and that gave me the possibility to stay consistent until the last lap and that was the key to arrive in front of Maverick and catch him at the end. I’m really happy about that because we needed this result, especially after the mistake in qualifying and for the Championship.”

Both he and Miller used the soft rear tyre in the race. Somewhat surprisingly, the harder Michelin rear that Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) used didn’t seem to be working as well in the latter stages. And Dovizioso was happy with his and the team’s late decision to switch to the soft rear.

“The temperature changed a lot from yesterday and that gave us the possibility to make the right choice but the soft in the end, on the left, it was better. Especially on the way I rode because I didn’t use too much. Also, the front, the medium, I think that the right choice,” explained the number 04 rider.

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Dovizioso: "Consistency was the key to catching Viñales"

“It’s very important because we had a chance in Silverstone to fight for the victory, we lost too many points, and then in Misano we struggled so we needed a result. We knew we could be the second fastest in the Championship but in the last few races, it was difficult. So, today was really important; especially the way we did it.”

Fellow GP19 rider Miller was a constant podium threat. Second in the early stages after making a good start from P4, ‘Jackass’ didn’t drop off when Viñales and Dovi passed him. And, after the misery of Misano, Miller was over the moon to be back on the box on a track that he’s never gone particularly well at in the past.

“It’s awesome, it’s great to be back up here. I’ve had a solid weekend where we’ve been pushing really hard,” began a super-happy Miller. “I did a lot of work through the Free Practices with 17 laps in FP4 and a 13-lap run in FP2, so we definitely put in the work and I think myself and the team deserved it. We tried putting in the work in Misano but we couldn’t win a trick there. Super happy to be back up here and fighting closer to the front.

“Definitely, a lot of people are scratching their heads now,” continued Miller, describing how sweet this feeling is after having a torrid time at the San Marino GP. “We suffered a lot in Misano but both me and Dovi are back up here after a real tough one for us. It’s amazing what a little bit of rear grip will do for us. It’s a shame we had to lose as many points as we did in Misano and have such a tough weekend, but the tough weekends make good weekends like this even more sweet.”

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Miller left "a lot of people scratching their heads"

It did, at one point, seem like Miller’s chances of a podium were slipping from his grasp. The 24-year-old agreed he felt it a little but when he saw Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) streaking clear, Miller decided to save his tyres so he could have something left at the end of the race.

“A little bit don’t get me wrong. I pushed from the start; I got a pretty decent jump. I got stuck behind Fabio for the first two sectors and he was just being a little cautious on the opening lap, which was quite wise round here because the right-hand side of the tyre can get pretty cool. By the time I got past him into turn 12, Marc already had nearly a two second gap. I probably pushed real hard for about three corners in a row and I noticed I didn’t even make a dent in what he had so I was like ‘nah’. He’s on another level this weekend, I mean he was two tenths off the lap record in FP1, so he was definitely feeling good at home. Must’ve been that fishing trip he had at the start of the week!”

And now, having gone well at a track he doesn’t normally go well at, what does the number 43 expect for the upcoming flyaways?

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Post-race Press Conference: Michelin Aragon Grand Prix

“Aragon hasn’t been a track I’ve done particularly well at in the past and we were able to turn it around and get a great result this year. We’re coming up tracks now that I really enjoy. Thailand, Japan, Australia and even Malaysia. I love this last bit of the season. I get to get over to my side of the world and it’s nice to see all the family, especially in Phillip Island. Head off tomorrow, go and have some nice Australian tucker and get ready for Thailand.”

The title may well have a chance of being settled in Thailand, but Dovizioso and Miller aren’t going to let Marquez have it on a plate. Two Ducatis returned to form at MotorLand Aragon, but can they keep it up for the rest of the season?

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