'Over the limit’ Andrea Dovizioso satisfied with third after tough weekend

Andrea Dovizioso said he was “happy” to salvage third in the Japanese grand prix after he struggled for speed throughout the event.

The Italian cited a “correct tyre choice” as the primary catalyst for his Motegi performance turnaround, as he was able to keep a strong pace towards the end of the 25 lap encounter compared to his main Yamaha rivals-who utilised the soft rear tyre compared to Dovizioso’s medium.

Having started seventh on the grid-nearly seven tenths from pole-man Marc Marquez and over half-a-second down on the trio of Yamaha’s that followed behind-Dovizioso made his way forward throughout the contest as his rivals began to falter, even closing down second placed Fabio Quartararo in the closing stages.

The Ducati man ultimately came up short in relegating the Petronas SRT rider to third by the chequered flag, but held off factory Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales for an unlikely podium.

Dovizioso also pointed out his GP19’s superior braking performance relative to the M1 as another key factor to his late race charge, enhanced further by his at-that-point superior rear tyre.

“It was a strange race because there was a different tyre choice so I think (Fabio) Quartararo ran out of tyres, and maybe (Maverick) Vinales too at the end, so I was able to keep a good lap time and at the end I took a lot of risk with the braking,” explained Dovizioso.

“I was really good on the brakes to I could gain time on them (Yamaha’s), but there were not enough laps.

“I was pushing so hard, a bit over the limit, because I wanted second but I’m overall happy because we struggled throughout the weekend and the race we made the correct tyre choice which allowed us to get the podium.”

Dovizioso’s third place result has now put him on the verge of securing his third successive runners-up championship finish, which has put him 55 points clear of Vinales and Suzuki’s Alex Rins, who are currently equal third.

He can wrap up his position as long as he doesn’t concede more than five points to the pair, as well as 12 to team-mate Danilo Petrucci and 18 to the in-form Quartararo.