Andrea Dovizioso’s face says it all at the end of the Phillip Island race. In fact, his thirteenth place finish has all the taste of a farewell to the Championship Title, because closing a gap of 33 points behind Marc Marquez seems to be an all but impossible undertaking. However, he has no intentions of throwing in the towel now, well aware that his destiny seems to be practically decided.
The Italian is therefore leaving Australia with a bitter taste in his mouth, partly because of the episode when he ran long at the beginning of the race, a mistake that conditioned his performance.
“Unfortunately, I made a mistake on the second lap that complicated everything – he began – I was very fast on the corner and it was almost impossible to stop the bike. I had hoped for a good result, but things went differently – he added – I started the race with the medium tyre, but in the final stages I wore the tyres. Among other things, on the last turn I was very slow.”
Andrea is not making excuses.
“We confirmed our limitations in this race, especially in mid-corner – he admitted – Maybe in other races I had managed to mask them. It’s a pity – he continued – because we lost a lot of points in the overall Championship standings and it is difficult to recover, although I will give it my all in the next two races. There are still two GP rounds and anything can happen, but with Marc like this it is difficult.”
The Ducati rider then explains the tyre choice.
“We relied on the medium only at the last minute because in practice the wear on the soft was beyond the limit – he revealed – Unfortunately, with the soft we weren’t able to do a lot of laps, so I opted for the other. Maybe with the soft I could have been faster, but given the result with the medium, it would not have changed much. I’m sorry to say so, but today I did not have the right cards to play.”
There are those who wonder how much the crash in FP4 may have influenced the race today?
“The crash yesterday has nothing to do with it – he admitted – Phillip Island is a race unto itself. The results in practice almost never reflect the values in the race, so the only way is to get on the track and push. The crash complicated our plans – the Italian explained – but in the race nothing happened that was different from Saturday.”
And to think that on Friday the Borgo Panigale standard-bearer was in the top spots just behind Marquez and he was oozing a certain confidence.
“Obviously I was deceiving myself the first day – he recalled – Sometimes you have to talk a little BS (he smiles). It’s a shame that the truth came out later. As I said, we struggled particularly here in mid-corner, where I was unable to be as smooth as I wanted to be.”
Not even his start from the eleventh spot on the grid weighed on him.
“That has nothing to do with it. I wasn’t fast - period – Dovi reiterated – Grip dropped because I wasn’t able to ride the bike smoothly. This is the reason for my performance today. Without the mistake at the start I could have been with the KTM in the top ten, but no more than that.”
While the number four rider was forced to recover, Marquez stole the show ahead of the rest.
“Marc likes to play with fire – he commented – He is not afraid to engage in these battles. That is the strength of Champions.”
With Phillip Island filed away, there are still two races to go. Dovizioso remains hopeful for the title, although the odds are against it.
“Obviously there is still a chance for the Championship Title – he pointed out – even if the chances are low, because usually Marc either does zero or is on the podium. Being back on the track already in less than a week is certainly a good thing.”
His final comment is for number 93’s Honda, which does not have even the least of problems on every track.
“The thing is that Marc is strong in any situation – he concluded – His bike has also improved, but I don’t see it as that much superior than the others. Maybe it is the best balanced, although Marquez is able to mask any limitations.”