It's been a strange season for Dovizioso. His best, perhaps, in terms of points, seeing as he needs only 47 more to exceed the 261 he scored in 2017, when he placed second in the championship. It's definitely been a difficult one, considering how Marquez has dominated, not allowing Dovi to fight for the title.
"Knowing that this might be my best season is not very positive, considering the gap between me and Marquez -comments Dovi - This year has been an important one. To say it's been a cold shower is excessive but it gives you an idea. Marquez has taken a step forward and hasn't allowed us to fight. I was close until Barcelona but after that there was nothing we could do".
What have you learned in 2019?
"This year has shown us how much we need to improve mid-turn. In recent seasons, we did better than our rivals when it came to managing certain things and so we were strong there and our limitations mid-turn appeared less because we were doing a lot better in other areas. Now everyone is improving where we were previously able to gain and that's worrying, because the return of Yamaha means four more bikes running up front, and then Rins up there too. So it's obvious that in a race where you're not particularly strong you can easily find yourself down in sixth or seventh”.
Second place is withing reach but not a sure thing, would it be disappointing to achieve this?
“I hoped to be able to fight for it- says Dovi - it's a tough goal but I want to achieve it. This year, I had a phenomenal start to the season but also two zeros when they caused me to crash when I would have been on the podium in both races."
Last weekend saw you finish fourth. What didn't work in Thailand?
"During the weekend, I tried to improve my speed through the last sector but I couldn't do enough. I was going well through the first two sectors but couldn't keep race through the second part of the track, right from lap one. We need to find a way to improve mid-turn, that's the problem".
What are your expectations this week? Motegi suits both the bike and your riding style.
"My riding style comes frmo when I was riding the 250cc 2 strokes with a frame that allowed me to brake hard, it's something I've carried with me. Now I have a bike that lets me do that and Motegi is a track that suits this kind of characteristic".
Marquez has said that he'll use the last four races to test new solutions for 2020. What do you think? Will you do the same?
“He's doing the right thing, also because he's already tested many new parts. We are doing similar work in Ducati, but it doesn't condition the race weekends as we don't have a lot of new material. I am working to achieve the maximum each weekend but we're also thinking long-terms. We've been doing that for a while seeing as the championship was already a done deal a while ago".
Audio recorded by Matteo Aglio