Andrea Dovizioso says he is “happy” to finish fourth in the 2020 MotoGP riders standings after lacking a “special feeling” with his Ducati all year.
Dovizioso came into the Covid-19 shortened ’20 campaign as one of the favourites for the title after finishing runner-up to Marc Marquez for the past three consecutive seasons, his chances rising considerably after the world champion was ruled out for the rest of the season after breaking his right arm in the season opening Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
Despite lacking outright performance in both Jerez encounters as he struggled to make MotoGP tyre supplier Michelins new-for-’20 rear tyre work, Dovizioso’s championship pedigree was put firmly on display with a classy first win of the year in the Austrian GP, though this was as good as it would get for Italian as his year crumbled.
Having already announced that he would exit Ducati ahead of the Austrian encounter-a decision that would ultimately lead to him taking a years sabbatical from racing- Dovizioso failed to stand on the podium again, though consistent points results-and assisted by Yamaha’s late season collapse-meant he was able to salvage fourth overall, 36 points adrift of eventual champion Joan Mir.
Dovizioso admitted that he didn’t believe fourth in the riders standings was possible after qualifying 12th for the season finale in Portugal, an achievement he says shows “we could have been title contenders” had he have been able to recover his “special feeling” with the Desmosedici.
“Before the race I don’t think anyone expected us to finish fourth in the championship because we started towards the back and it’s really difficult to overtake here, and I didn’t really have the special feeling,” said Dovizioso.
“My start also wasn’t really that good so I had to overtake a lot of riders on speed alone, so I’m happy about today because I’ve had no feeling this year.
“So to finish fourth in the championship without having a good feeling is another confirmation we could be title contenders.
“For sure we can’t be happy about fourth because the target was to fight for the championship but when you don’t have the feeling you can’t make more.
“In summary it was another difficult season where we struggled a lot, but I finished fourth overall so I’m pretty happy.”
Dovizioso that he was satisfied to have achieved something “crazy” in his eight seasons with Ducati, hailing his purple patch of form across the ’17-19 campaigns-in which he scored three consecutive runner-up championship results as well as 12 victories-as “unreal”.
“We did something crazy (at Ducati), people forget about where we started and to make three special seasons with a lot of victories, and in the way we won, this was unreal and I’m really happy about that and I’m really happy with the relationship I had with some people at Ducati.
“When there is a technical change anything can happen, this season has been very strange for everybody, some more some less, but I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike, the problems with the contract and my future didn’t really make it easy for the championship.
“We weren’t so strong over the year, but we ended up as the best Ducati (in the championship) so I can be happy about that.”