Dovizioso no longer knows how to respond to those asking whether he already has the Austrian win in the Ducati bag. Recent history shows that the red bikes have been unbeatable at the Red Bull Ring, but Andrea is not one to count his chickens before they hatch. Perhaps a little superstition is also behind the fact he's keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
“In MotoGP you can never relax anywhere" smiles Dovi.
But you can't deny you are starting out as favourites…
“Situations need to be interpreted. Two years ago, after the first test, it looked like we'd be racing alone but then that wasn't the case. Last year we should have dominated, but Marquez battled until the final corner for the win”.
Are you a little too pessimistic?
“I know our bike works well at this track and my riding style also suits, this is helpful, but it's not all as easy as it might seem. Last year I took a last gasp victory, and now Honda has a more powerful engine and is, on paper, more competitive. Yamaha also has more horsepower than in the past”.
“We have improved compared to one year ago, but we still have to see. We need to look out for the tyres, as consumption is more marked at this track”.
You're coming off a double…
“This gives us confidence sure, and it makes things easier, especially at a track at which our bike works well, at least on paper. The Brno weekend was important, the win the result of a lot of hard work. I made changes to the bike and my riding style and I think I still have some room to improve”.
Does the fact you're not in the mix for the title right now relieve some of the pressure?
“Pressure has never been an issue for me and this doesn't change my approach to racing anyway. I repeat, it'll be very tough to make up so many points to Marquez. When things go bad for Marc, he still reaches the podium and we still need to improve some details on the bike. This doesn't mean I won't try though”.
Is it important to finish the year ahead of Lorenzo?
“Your team-mate is always a reference but I'm focusing on the championship, not on Jorge. In this sense, he's a rival like the others”.
It may rain during the practice sessions, would that be an advantage?
“I don't think so, mainly because Marquez is a rider who adapts quickly and also, as I've said, we need time to work on the tyres”.
You've never tested in the wet at this track…
“No, Moto2 ran in the wet last year and there were many crashes. It looked like riding on oil, because this track doesn't guarantee grip once it's wet and there's rubber down. It depends whether the cars have been out in recent weeks, if so it might be worse”.