Italian hero Andrea Dovizioso feels he took ‘the maximum’ from his package in Sunday’s round three MotoGP outing in Texas to claim fifth, but finishing 13 seconds behind the winner – Spain’s Marc Marquez – was “not good”.
Ducati rider Dovizioso still believed his approach to the weekend warranted praise after a second difficult outing in as many weeks.
The Italian’s reward was a return to the world championship lead he had briefly surrendered to Cal Crutchlow at round two in Argentina.
The Ducatis struggled throughout the weekend in Texas, as a bumpy track and its sinewy layout shone a light on the weaknesses of the GP18, leaving Dovizioso and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo some way off the pace on Friday afternoon.
Then, both appeared resigned (as they did in Argentina). But Dovizioso’s decision to use Ducati’s aerodynamic ’18 fairing for the first time at a race weekend coupled with a handful of set-up changes helped with front-end feel.
He would go on to challenge Crutchlow, Johann Zarco and the heroic Dani Pedrosa (riding wiuth a fractured right wrist) for fifth place in the race, seeing Frenchman Zarco off with two laps to play to collect 11 valuable points that were sufficient to retake the championship lead.
Marquez, meanwhile, delivered the perfect comeback from a chaotic performance in Argentina for an unbeaten sixth victory in a row.
Starting from fourth after a three-place grid penalty for obstructing Pol Espargaro in qualifying, the Repsol Honda overtook Andrea Iannone at the end of the back straight and – barring a brief lunge for the lead by the Suzuki rider – was never headed.
The reigning four-time world champion later backed off to win by an advantage of 3.5s over Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales, who claimed his first rostrum of the season. Iannone held on to third for a much-needed debut Suzuki podium from Vinales’ team-mate Valentino Rossi.
The next round is set for Jerez, in Spain, on May 6.
Results from Texas:
1 MARQUEZ Marc SPA 25 Repsol Honda Team Honda 41’52.002
2 VINALES Maverick SPA 20 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 3.560
3 IANNONE Andrea ITA 16 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 6.704
4 ROSSI Valentino ITA 13 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 9.587
5 DOVIZIOSO Andrea ITA 11 Ducati Team Ducati 13.570
6 ZARCO Johann FRA 10 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 14.231
7 PEDROSA Dani SPA 9 Repsol Honda Team Honda 18.201
8 RABAT Tito SPA 8 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 28.537
9 MILLER Jack AUS 7 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 28.671
10 ESPARGARO Aleix SPA 6 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 28.875
11 LORENZO Jorge SPA 5 Ducati Team Ducati 31.355
12 PETRUCCI Danilo ITA 4 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 34.993
13 ESPARGARO Pol SPA 3 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 37.264
14 NAKAGAMI Takaaki JPN 2 LCR Honda Honda 39.335
15 BAUTISTA Alvaro SPA 1 Angel Nieto Team Ducati 40.887
16 SMITH Bradley GBR 0 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 48.475
17 REDDING Scott GBR 0 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 49.995
18 LUTHI Tom SWI 0 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 51.115
19 CRUTCHLOW Cal GBR 0 LCR Honda Honda 59.055
20 SIMEON Xavier BEL 0 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 59.747
21 MORBIDELLI Franco ITA 0 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1’00.513
22 RINS Alex SPA 0 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 10 laps
23 SYAHRIN Hafizh MAL 0 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 12 laps
24 ABRAHAM Karel CZE 0 Angel Nieto Team Ducati 12 laps
1 DOVIZIOSO Andrea ITA 46 Ducati Team Ducati
2 MARQUEZ Marc SPA 45 Repsol Honda Team Honda
3 VINALES Maverick SPA 41 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
4 CRUTCHLOW Cal GBR 38 LCR Honda Honda
5 ZARCO Johann FRA 38 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
6 IANNONE Andrea ITA 31 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki
7 ROSSI Valentino ITA 29 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
8 MILLER Jack AUS 26 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati
9 RABAT Tito SPA 22 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
10 PETRUCCI Danilo ITA 21 Alma Pramac Racing Ducati
11 PEDROSA Dani SPA 18 Repsol Honda Team Honda
12 RINS Alex SPA 16 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki
13 SYAHRIN Hafizh MAL 9 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
14 ESPARGARO Pol SPA 8 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
15 ESPARGARO Aleix SPA 6 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
16 LORENZO Jorge SPA 6 Ducati Team Ducati
17 MORBIDELLI Franco ITA 6 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
18 NAKAGAMI Takaaki JPN 5 LCR Honda Honda
19 REDDING Scott GBR 4 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
20 BAUTISTA Alvaro SPA 4 Angel Nieto Team Ducati
21 ABRAHAM Karel CZE 1 Angel Nieto Team Ducati