MotoGP: Dovizioso adamant that title fight far from over

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Andrea Dovizioso is adamant that the MotoGP title race is far from over despite Marc Marquez’s romp to victory in last Sunday’s French Grand Prix. The Repsol Honda rider pulled clear from the field in the early stages to stretch out his lead over runner-up Dovi to over two seconds – but despite the dominant performance the Ducati rider is remaining upbeat.

Only eight points adrift of Marquez as the series heads to Mugello and Barcelona, tracks where Dovi and Ducati have enjoyed considerable success in recent seasons and where Marquez hasn’t won since 2014, the Italian says that he knows what he needs to do in order to stop the charge that has seen Marquez win three of the year’s five races.

“We have to be happy about taking home 20 points from Le Mans and about the situation in the championship, but on the other hand I struggled a little bit all weekend with finding some speed. That means I went into the race not feeling 100% confident, so to finish second after that was a positive. But we have to find something, because Marc and Honda are a little bit stronger than us right now. We need to find where the margin to improve is,” he said.

“The next two tracks will be very important for us, but I don’t think they’ll decide the championship for us because there’s still a lot of races to come after them. If we can find
a little bit more speed anywhere in the corner then we can do well, because otherwise we can just pray that Marc makes a mistake and that’s not the way to win titles.

“We need more speed, because that lets you manage things. Just being two tenths slower makes everything so much harder, but it doesn’t matter which part of the corner we find that speed in.”

And with such a slender lead for Marquez despite his successes so far, the Spaniard knows he can’t make a wrong move again after crashing out of a sure-fire victory in Texas. In the past Dovi has been able to force errors from the reigning champion and Marquez says he knows he needs to stay as much in control of his own mind than anything else to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.

“I’ve done a zero this year and when you do that in only five races, you pay for it,” said Marquez. “It happened at a track where I didn’t expect it to and despite feeling strong on the bike, and that means we need to concentrate so hard in all the race tracks to come. Dovi is doing a great job – if you look at the other contenders they’re here and there in practice, but Dovi is always top five.

“That’s the way to fight for the championship. In the last two years, he was a tough opponent and he definitely will be again in the coming year.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer