Today's podium was bittersweet for Andrea Dovizioso at Mugello. Sweet because Dovi reached the top 3 in the Italian GP for the third consecutive time. Bitter because of the points he lost to Marc Marquez.
"It was a good race," began Dovizioso. "We all had trouble with the tires because there was no grip and, if I had pushed from the beginning, I would have paid for it. Danilo and I were very fast but, unfortunately, we didn't have enough to break away from the others. The biggest problem is still the center of the turn. Losing points here is a shame, but it was a test of strength for Ducati."
A crucial point of the race was when Petrucci overtook Dovizioso and Marquez on the last lap. A bit too aggressive?
"I was more worried than Marc. I prepared well to break away, and I thought I had him. Danilo came in aggressive , and I had to straighten the bike again and ended up third. If I hadn't been so responsive, I would have touched Marc, and that would have been a disaster. I'm happy for Danilo, but I lost points and that's not good."
After the Le Mans race, there was a lot of talk about the excellent relationship between Dovizioso and Danilo. Do you now regret having "adopted" him?
"Absolutely not," continued Dovi. I'm really happy for him because I care and because I know how much he deserved this victory. He suffered many years and has always been the "Calimero" of the MotoGP. He got where he is because he was gutsy."
So will you continue your work together?
"Sure. He helps me grow a lot, and I think we can both improve this season. We are intelligent riders, and I don't give him anything. It's always a give and take," said Dovizioso."I'm really happy for him, and I can also say that I have a good eye because my friends asked me for a prediction, and I said that Danilo would give it his all."
So, no problem with Petrux, even after today's attack?
"He and I are intelligent, not like with the other teammates. The relationship we have is atypical. What happened in the past was more normal. In the world championship, there are those with different characters and you can find yourself better with one and worse with another. With Danilo, we always respected each other and talked even when he was in Pramac and, at the end of last year, we decided to plan the season like this: helping each other out."
Despite today's great race, however, Dovizioso did not always seem at ease during the weekend, so much so that he was forced to pass through Q1. The reasons for these unclear performances?
"In today's MotoGP, it's all very complicated. There are strong riders being tested and you either have a margin or you'll find yourself 10th or 12th, even if you have the pace that's worth a podium. We work for the race, not to reach record-breaking times like other riders who missed out a bit today. However, I can't hide that I struggled at the beginning of the weekend. The track was in a different condition than usual."
The next stage of the championship will be Barcelona. How do you see the Ducati and what is missing from the GP19?
"Like I said before," concluded Dovizioso, "the biggest problems are at the center of the turn. Today, we realized this really well because Marquez accelerated less and braked like us. What allowed him to remain attached was the distance. He is very strong, but Honda doesn't joke around. In that situation, we have to improve because they are better than we are."
Audio recorded by Matteo Aglio