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19 days ago
By motogp.com

Dovizioso: "There were three times where I almost gave up"

It was the only track on the calendar that the Italian hadn’t been on the rostrum at, until Sunday – but it was far from easy

Three weeks ago, Andrea Dovizioso’s (Ducati Team) participation in the Gran Premio Red Bull de España was in doubt after breaking his collarbone in a training accident. However, On Sunday, the Italian secured his 102nd Grand Prix podium at the only track on the calendar he hadn’t managed to achieve one at in the premier class.

 

Jerez has never been kind to Dovizioso, nor has it ever suited the Ducati. A recently plated collarbone, searing heat and a bike that doesn’t get on too well with a tricky and relentless circuit spelled bad news for the Italian. But at the start of the weekend there was positive signs, with the number 04 admitting that his collarbone was causing no issues when he was riding the bike.

Until Sunday, Dovizioso went about his business quietly. P4 in FP1 and P9 in FP2 was a strong start to Friday, with ‘DesmoDovi’ earning an automatic Q2 spot in FP3's time attack – but only just. Qualifying P8, the 34-year-old would eventually start from P7 after Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) was ruled out following a Warm Up crash. And then, the race.

 

The entire weekend in the south of Spain was horrendously hot. Explaining Sunday afternoon’s slog, Dovizioso admits the conditions were worse than Thailand and Malaysia, and how his head was the only thing that got him to the end – and on the rostrum.  

“So tough. Tougher than Malaysia and Thailand,” began an exhausted Dovizioso. “Maybe because we’re struggling a bit more here, I don’t know. But it was so tough. There were three situations where I almost gave up because I didn’t have the speed and I couldn’t keep that intensity. Still, I’m not riding in the way I want, so I’m not that comfortable to push and make the speed.

“I was able to be consistent, the team did a great job because we were able to improve the feeling a little bit on the front, and that gave me the possibility to be consistent in the race. And I did the podium with this [points to head] because I didn’t have the speed.”

Dovizioso then explains the situation he and Ducati are in, in terms of the GP20’s performance. Is it a similar story to last year, just missing that extra tenth or two compared to the fastest guys?

“The situation is different, the characteristics are different but we are in the same situation as last year. We miss a bit of speed. About strategy and managing the tyres, I think after this race we will be stronger. But the speed is still not that good to make the strategy with the fastest riders, I was just behind. We are not that far and this is positive, but without the speed all the strategy and all the work you do during the weekend is different.

“For sure we will be stronger because the feedback you have in the race is much more important,” continued Dovizioso, talking about the upcoming Andalucian GP. “And also the consumption of the tyre, that’s clear now. We have to do something different, but everyone has the same chance now. If we can be faster, we will make a different race. Without that it will be another hard race.”

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