Andrea Dovizioso says he has to be pleased with fourth position in the French MotoGP after admitting to almost falling ‘10 times’ in the closing laps as his tyres rapidly dwindled.
Arriving at Le Mans 24 points shy of MotoGP title leader Fabio Quartararo following his Catalunya crash, Dovizioso looked destined to claw back some ground as the gulf in experience between the two showed early on.
With Quartarario plummeting out of the top ten, Dovizioso shadowed Ducati team-mate Danilo Petrucci for second, even briefly nosing ahead on lap 18.
However, Dovizioso reveals he caused a messy Turn 8 tangle by braking to hard, which caused Petrucci to bump into him, while a deep braking Alex Rins entered stage left to force Dovizioso and Jack Miller further wide.
The incident put more than two seconds between Petrucci and Dovizioso, but victory was out of the question anyway when the tyres went away from him. Losing out to Alex Marquez and Pol Espargaro, Dovizioso held off Miguel Oliveira for fourth place.
“We have to be happy because we get some points, but I’m disappointed because we made a bad tyre choice… but now it is too easy to speak about that because you cannot know for 45mins how heavy it will rain.
“I was struggling to first half of the race because Danilo was very fast and strong in that situation. But I was able to be fast in the corners and braking, but the last 10 laps when the water was almost zero I had completely finished the tyre.
“I was already on the limit at the front and lap by lap it got worse and worse, I locked the front, I almost crashed 10 times. With a different tyre I would have fought Danilo.
Though fourth versus Quartararo’s eventual ninth didn’t deliver the large in-roads the margins at the start of the French MotoGP initially suggested, Dovizioso was pleased to make up some ground nonetheless ahead what should be a favourable Aragon/Teruel double header.
“At the end [of the day] we have to be happy, we have gained more points and you have to think Thursday – how many points – and then how many on Sunday.
“Everybody expected a lot from us in the wet and Danilo won, so I am really happy for him, but at the end you have to take a lot of risk. I almost crashed a lot of times, so to gain points in that position we have to be happy.
“In the dry we are struggling but at the end today we had the possibility to fight. Anything can happen and I think everything is open. Our speed is still not that good but our competitors have some limits.“