Dovizioso's face after he got off the podium didn't exactly express happiness and neither did his words. Andrea didn't try to hide how burdensome the umpteenth lesson he got from Marquez in the beginning of this championship was, where Marc was in command despite his mishap in Austin. At Le Mans, the Spanish rider once again played around with his adversaries, showing that his advantage over everyone is still a big one.
"A second place is always needed, but it depends on the way you reach it ." Without much conviction, Andrea tried to see the glass half full. "We have to be happy for the 20 points we brought home and our position in the rankings. The championship is still wide open."
"I can't be happy with this weekend, and I wasn't able to enter the race with much confidence. We need to analyze what happened, find the points where there's still room for improvement because what we have is not enough against Marquez and the Honda."
"I struggled with the bike and the rear tire. I wasn't as fast as I wanted to be. That's why I'm not happy. We're not too far from Marc, and that's why we must stay calm and try to understand how to make progress."
What is it that you need?
"Simple: more speed. With that, you can manage many things, which we can't do now."
Marquez is always the problem...
"Without him, I would have already won two World Championships (he laughed). But he's there, and that's why we have to study what's not working as we would like it to. Marc's numbers are important. He's managing to handle the races and win them in all conditions. We're doing well, but not enough to go against him."
Maybe he's an alien...
"It wouldn't matter even if he were. We should still find a way to beat him. Our outcome is positive, but I'm objective and, right now, I know I have no special trick that allows me to go up against Marc. He's making the difference in too many races."
Everyone is wondering how to beat him.
"I don't think anyone has the answer. But he himself said that you must never think you’re invincible. He had slammed into that reality in 2015. Marc is not stupid. He knows how careful he needs to be to get certain results."
Did you expect to find yourself in a better situation before the season began?
"I was hoping for something more but, as always, only the races can tell the whole truth. They said that Honda has improved, like Suzuki and Yamaha. Right now, we mustn’t lose our temper. It's the fundamental ingredient for finding solutions.”
Is Marquez for Honda what Stoner was for Ducati?
"It may be a case in point, but a little too extreme, in the sense that Casey made a greater difference. I think the Honda progressed more than us during the winter and that Marc is the only one who can ride it to the limit."
The next track is Mugello. Will it help that you're coming from two victories?
"We'll be fast, I'm sure, but that's not the point. It won't be there that the championship will be decided, and only one good result is not important. We'll have the chance to fight for the championship only if we can improve. Otherwise, we can only hope that others will make mistakes, but that's not how titles are won. At Mugello, I expect the Yamaha to be very competitive and Marc closer than usual, especially because he likes to win on tracks where he has most trouble on paper. We'll be strong, but we will not be able to make the difference like in the past."
What about the duel with Petrucci?
"It was great. He did well to try but without exaggerating. This podium was important for both of us. He needs to get results for next year, and he did well to try, but with intelligence.”
No mention of team orders?
"We're not in Formula 1 here. In MotoGP, certain things are not done and, above all, not at the beginning of the season. I'm happy to have raced against Danilo."