In the last four races, Andrea Dovizioso has brought home 86 of the 100 points available. “That many?” he replies, surprised and pleased. The Italian is not in a position to think about the title, but he has everything he needs to feel confident ahead of next year. He appears to be continuously growing, and the same goes for his Ducati.
“I think I'm in the best shape of my career, but compared to last year both me and the bike are stronger. In 2017 we had highs and lows all the way through, despite 6 race wins. This year the regulation regarding wings changed, we had to adapt and that took us a few races, the tyres behave differently too, and we've been able to show our potential from Brno onwards. I think we have a lot more substance than last year, our rivals are more worried about us now. It's not a question of form, but work. It's not just a moment”.
You've never talked about the problems with the new wings…
“In order to solve certain problems, you have to go at it head first. A mistake can be very productive if you work well. I think and hope that this year's errors have allowed us to become this competitive and that we will be again next year. Without two significant errors, I could have been fighting for the title, but you don't win anything with 'if', and I'm sure that the mistakes have only made us stronger”.
The Thai GP will be another important test, is the goal to delay Marquez's party?
“The championship is one of the last things on my mind right now... unfortunately (he laughs). I don't have the power to condition the final result, I'll focus on my own race, just as I've done in the last races as that has worked. We want to continue to improve in certain areas because we know that's key ahead of next year, as well as trying to bring home the best result. I don't just go on track to be fast, but to improve”.
Who is looking like favourite at Buriram?
“We already saw something during testing and the Honda was working best. But the tyres were different and after fourteen races you approach the race differently to how you did in February. i expect us to be competitive, but the only data we have says that the Hondas were all fast”.
What do you think of the track?
“It's not one of the most beautiful, but that doesn't matter. It will be a strange weekend as there will be various aspects to manage. When you've never raced at a track, there are many details that you're not aware of and some will come up in the race. The tyres will be totally different to testing and so we're starting from scratch there”.
Many are worried about the weather, you too?
“In this heat, we're at the limit when it comes to finishing the race. It's like that in Malaysia, but we'll only know whether it's worse here come Sunday. The heat will condition the race, you can show certain performance in practice but completing 27 laps is another story”.
Are you thinking about tyre wear?
“The tyres reached high temperatures during tests, this is why they've changed them, so it will be a problem for everyone. We'll all be at the limit, both riders and bikes”.
Does this weekend require a different approach?
“We usually work almost exclusively on the tyres, so no real difference there. With an extra tyre, it will be more complicated, but we're all in the same boat. We need to work well and manage the situation”.
Last question: what do you think about what happened between Marquez and Lorenzo at Aragon?
“I came out on top and was very intelligent, I won't speak for the rest (he laughs)”.