Andrea Dovizioso: Third ‘the best we could get in dry conditions’
Andrea Dovizioso reckons his third place in the Malaysian grand prix at Sepang was the best he could have achieved in the dry track conditions.
The Italian has won the Malaysian event twice before in 2016 and ’17, both held in mixed conditions.
Dovizioso could manage only tenth on the grid-and third Ducati- in the dry qualifying session, although was quickly able to move forward when the race got underway.
He made his way into third early on after he relegated Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller from the position, and while unable to challenge the leading pair of Maverick Vinales and Marc Marquez, he was able to hold off Valentino Rossi for ninth rostrum visit of the year.
Dovizioso says that he was “disappointed” to not be able to challenge for the race victory, but said tyre troubles prevented him from utilising “positive things” with the GP19 he found during practice.
“It was the best result we could have got in the dry conditions in Malaysia, we’ve never done a race as fast as this here so this is really positive,” said Dovizioso.
“I’m a bit disappointed with my pace in the race though as I thought we’d be at least able to stay with Marc (Marquez), but the conditions were brutal. For everybody the tyre dropped too much, so I had to ride in a different way and it didn’t work.
“I couldn’t do the same positive things we found in practice, I couldn’t stay with the leading two, I tried to do other things but I made a mistake and lost more time so there wasn’t any more chance to be faster because we were on the limit on the rear and the front.
“Overall I’m happy, but we still need more speed.”
“The soft front worked well and I think it was the right choice for our bike, the rear was the problem. I don’t know if the medium would have been better, it seemed like everyone was having problems so maybe the job would have been just as tough.”
The three-time MotoGP runner-up also relished his battle with nine-time champion Rossi, praising his “aggressive but clean” style that he believes potentially saved the pair from coming under greater pressure from the charging Suzuki of Alex Rins in the closing laps.
“It’s always difficult because Valentino (Rossi) never gives up, but it’s always nice to battle with him because he’s aggressive but clean, so normally he doesn’t do crazy things so I was able to manage the situation in a normal way.
“This was good as we didn’t lose time, which helped because (Alex) Rins was coming.”