Andrea Dovizioso reckons he could have finished within the top ten in the Americas Grand Prix had he not almost stalled his Yamaha on the race start.
The Petronas SRT racer displayed improved pace throughout his second weekend of the year competing with the Malaysian squad’s M1 at the Circuit of the Americas as he consistently lapped around a second adrift of the front-runners, Dovizioso qualifying 14th and well ahead of team-mate Valentino Rossi.
A poor start saw the three-time MotoGP vice champion drop all the way to 18th on the run to Turn 1, though found himself able to fight back to score points in 14th by the drop of the chequered flag having shown strong speed across the 20-lap contest.
Dovizioso says he is “disappointed” to not achieve “the maximum” top ten result he felt he could manage, the Italian ending up only five seconds adrift of tenth placed Pol Espargaro despite being stick behind LCR’s Alex Marquez over the closing tours as he struggled with the “lack of acceleration” he has with his 2019-spec Yamaha machine.
“I’m very disappointed about the start because I almost switched off the engine, there was a problem and I’m not sure if it was a mistake or just something on the bike so we have to check,” explained Dovizioso.
“I lost a lot of positions and it wasn’t easy for me to overtake with the acceleration we have, but in the end my pace was quite good and consistent so I’m a bit disappointed because I didn’t achieve the maximum and I think I could have been in the top ten with a good start.
“The improvement from Misano is big so we’ll continue to work and adapt to the bike because there is still quite a big margin (to the front runners.)”
Team-mate Rossi meanwhile continued to struggle as he has for most of his swansong 2021 campaign, the seven-time premier class world champion satisfied to recover from 20th on the grid to score the final point in 15th in Texas-albeit three seconds behind Dovizioso.
With half-brother Luca Marini having finished a position ahead at COTA in 14th, Rossi dropped to 21st in the riders standings-now the last full-time pilot with only three races remaining in his glittering MotoGP career.
“The pace during the weekend and the race was decent, I was able to take a point but it was really hard,” said Rossi.
“The race was very long because this track is very demanding because of hard braking zones and many changes of direction with the bumps, and with this temperature it felt really long.
“Therefore to take a point I’m happy, I went for the medium rear (tyre) and I felt good and had a nice feeling so I could recover some positions.
“Unfortunately I was not fast enough and expected to be stronger, but we suffered a little overall so we’ll take the point and this is how it is.”