He tried every which way to finish on the podium, just as he had a week ago in Japan, but this time there was no way. Andrea Dovizioso must settle for fourth in Australia, but for him the result is more than positive. A clear step forward has been taken compared with the last European rounds and now he wants a rematch in Malaysia.
The podium seemed to be within reach.
“Looking from the outside, yes (he smiles). I am very happy, because this fourth place is more important than you might think. The way we managed the race was positive, given the fact that in other races I struggled, but here I gained both in the braking sections and on the straight. I was accurate and that helped me get to the point of making a play for the podium.”
In the finale what happened?
“Unfortunately, in the final laps I backed off. The rear worsened, but I think we are on a positive trend, especially after the race last year. The bike has definitely improved and that makes me optimistic.”
What changed compared with Motegi?
“I had the same confirmations as in Japan, even on the tyre situation there are positive indicators. Like I said, in the last laps the rear tyre had no more grip and that placed me in a bit of difficulty.”
Sepang is in seven days.
“Malaysia has always been my favourite track; the asphalt is new, but we will need to see whether or not we are competitive.”
Given Barberà’s results, has anyone asked why not rely on Pirro?
“Michele was not able to; he was busy with tests in Valencia during the Japan weekend. We had nothing important to test, so I believe that Barberà was the right choice.”
What did Pirro tell you about the GP17?
“Nothing (he smiles), I have not had the chance to speak with him yet and it is not the right time. I think I am satisfied with the current Ducati situation, since we are at the top. I am also aware of the fact that there is work to be done, since there is something missing, but it is not easy to obtain it.”
In Australia Hector Barberà wanted redemption after Motegi. The script read identically, since three laps from the end he wound up in the gravel.
“It was a difficult race, because I was able to ride on the dry track only in the warmup this morning, so for me the race settings were all new. After the start, I made a comeback that brought me to battle in the group with Redding and Petrucci for seventh place, but three laps from the end, I made a mistake trying to overtake Miller. I went long, winding up in the grass and I crashed.”
Unfortunately, that redemption you had hoped for did not arrive.
“It is truly a pity, because today I tried to give it my all, but it was not enough. I wish once again to thank Ducati, my team, Avintia Racing and all those who gave me this chance. I did not have much luck, but now I must look ahead and try to do my best in the next two races.”