“Remember, be gentle today”, Dovizioso smiled and exhorted the journalist waiting with a barrage of questions. Valencia was not a time of miracles, but in any case, Andrea earned the applause of the team when he returned to the garage, still dusty from the crash.
“Today we did not lose. We kept it open until just a few laps from the end of the race” Dovi points out.
You have already said several times that you have no regrets about this season…
“No, because I already tore down a lot of walls in my mind. I don’t mean to say that it was all my doing, because it is always a team effort. By myself, I would not have been able to achieve certain results. We did a great job and we made the difference in a lot of situations.”
What makes you the proudest?
“Now people look at us, but more than anything, they look at me differently. Public opinion had made me into just another number in MotoGP, but I never felt like that.”
Some will say that you missed out on the chance of a lifetime…
“There are a lot of ignorant people in this world (he laughs). Anyone who thinks something like that just can’t see the way things are and is a bit stupid.”
What makes you so happy?
“The greatest satisfaction is being able to keep the championship open until the last race against Marquez and Honda. It was very difficult, but so many great things have happened this year that it’s difficult to choose.”
Marquez also complimented you. He said that he has learned a lot from you.
“I am immensely happy about that. I am the kind of person who tries to get along with everyone. Would you believe it if I told you that yesterday evening I received messages of encouragement even from a lot of my adversaries? I was very happy about that. I don’t act like this for political reasons, but I am simply being myself.”
Did you learn from Marquez too?
“Marc wins because he studies everyone, even the riders that he has already beaten. Like me, I think that he can find something positive in every rider. That is his strong point and I do the same thing. There is always something to learn. My compliments to Marc and his team. They were the fastest.”
Are you ready for the rematch?
“I am convinced that this is the base from which to restart. I have this awareness. I don’t know if we’ll be title contenders in 2018; nothing is a given. We have some defects to improve but I am not worried about our competitiveness.”
What did you think when you found yourself on the ground?
“My heart was racing at 198 beats per minute; physically I was finished… I tried, but a podium would not have been good for anything. I wasn’t desperate. I was very much at ease this weekend. Marquez was smart. He set up the race on speed and he put us in a bind. He spread out the group. I tried to hold tough, but I didn’t have the cards to play. From the outside we seemed to be close, but from our perspective it was different.”
Lorenzo was told several times to let you pass and he didn’t do it. Did he block you?
“I wouldn’t say so. In the early laps I could have been faster than him, but I wasn’t able to overtake him. Then I was slower in some parts of the track. We have two different riding styles and the different fairings also influenced. Jorge was fast and consistent and he helped me to be smoother.”
But he could have let you pass…
“Yes, but in any case, I was at the limit and that is why I crashed. Lorenzo didn’t condition my result. I had 24 laps to do something different and I wasn’t holding the right cards to play.”