“We've reached an exciting point of the championship”, Dovizioso sums up what we're all thinking as teams prepare for Motegi. There are still 100 points on the table and the standings “are still very close, even if not as close as before”. This means that to fight for the title, you need to hit the target every time while also having a better aim than your rivals.
“Everyone will be on the attack n every race, you need to have that attitude but also keep calm. Attack yes, but using your head - underlines - I don't know if I can fight for the title until the end, but I'm going to try”.
There are many unknowns.
“Because there are many fast riders who can be in front or between me, Marquez and Vinales - he continues - Riders like Valentino and Pedrosa, so we need to know how to manage that kind of situation. There are still many points available and we're all pretty close in the standings, so anything could happen”.
So what's the strategy?
“In those races I've won, I wasn't simply better than everyone else, I just managed the race well. So I need to continue in this way” he replies.
The last two races didn't go so well though and Dovi has come in for some criticism.
“I like the fact that people expect to see me fighting for the win each time, but it's not always possible - he says - In the last races I didn't hold back, I simply couldn't do more, it's not always possible to know everything from the outside, I'm very pleased to be in this situation at this point of the championship, it means we've done very well”.
Many expect to see a Ducati fighting for the win again at Motegi though, as historically the Desmosedici has always done well in Japan.
“I know we need to be up front to make up points, but anything could happen - he emphasises - I'm feeling relaxed though, I like this track and we can be competitive”.
That's the theory but in practice there may well be rain.
“In the last wet races we haven't been as fast as we were in previous years, but this could be a good opportunity to work on this aspect - Andrea sees the glass half full - I know that Honda has improved, and Marquez particularly is in great shape, Vinales has had highs and lows but we've seen how fast he is when things are going well for him. I repeat, anything could happen”.