US MotoGP: Andrea Dovizioso confident of stronger challenge
Andrea Dovizioso is confident he can put up more of a threat for a podium finish in Laguna Seca this weekend.
Four podium finishes in the opening five races put the Italian second in the overall rankings behind dominant Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo.
But he’s been unable to replicate that early season form in the last three races and the former world 125GP champion was a distant fifth in Assen and at last weekend’s Sachsenring clash in Germany.
He was running in a strong second in Catalunya behind Lorenzo when he crashed out because of a brake issue. He remounted to finish 14th and the Italian told MCN:
“This confirms that we need to improve in a few places and so do I. Where I wasn’t strong to fight for the podium like in Sachsenring or Assen, we need to consider last year and our improvement is big. But it still shows we need to get much better.
"I think in Laguna we have the possibility to fight much more than in the Sachsenring. I can’t be happy 100 per cent because I need to improve. Right now the level is really high.
"In some tracks I am really strong like in Barcelona. I had a really good pace but unfortunately I had the problem with the brake but in some tracks I’m not fast enough like in Sachsenring.
"The problem is I’m not fast enough to stay with them at my pace. I need to push more. It is a really small difference but we need to improve in a few places.”
Dovizioso also said he was surprised at Valentino Rossi’s stunning return to action in Germany last weekend.
Rossi had not raced for six weeks after breaking his leg in Mugello but finished fourth at the Sachsenring and only lost a dream podium to Ducati rival Casey Stoner at the final corner.
The Repsol Honda rider added:
“He was really fast and a little bit faster than what I thought. I think he doesn’t have a big problem to be fast with his problems but sure he’s really strong to keep his pace for the whole race. He made a really good race but about his speed, nobody can think it was strange because of who Valentino is.”