Andrea Dovizioso says his main concern now is not MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez but just getting back on terms with the resurgent Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.
Last year Dovizioso was Marquez’s main title rival and brought Ducati back into MotoGP championship contention for the first time since the Casey Stoner era.
But Dovizioso ended the first half of the 2018 season fourth in the standings and 77 points behind leader Marquez, having only taken one podium since winning the opening round in Qatar.
Rossi and Vinales, second and third in the championship, are 31 and 21 points ahead of Dovizioso respectively.
He admitted the gap to Marquez “is a lot” and said “there isn’t any reason” to focus on the title fight now.
“I am more worried about the gap I have with Yamaha in this moment, not Marc,” Dovizioso said.
“We have to improve still the points where we’re not good enough.”
Dovizioso said he had stopped worrying about Marquez even before the reigning champion won the German Grand Prix that led into the summer break, a race in which Dovizioso could only finish seventh.
“Marc did the right thing in many races and he created a big gap,” Dovizioso added.
“The difference between our speed compared to Marc is very small, so this is a positive. I’m not worried about that.
“The reality is that in the championship there is a big gap.”
The fact that Pramac Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci was within 3.4 seconds of Marquez as he finished fourth at the Sachsenring encouraged Dovizioso given the Desmosedicis had all struggled at the track in 2017, but he still felt “we didn’t make any jump forward in the right way”.
He is more optimistic for the races after the summer break.
“From Brno I think we can be very competitive and we have to keep working and improve a few things,” Dovizioso added.
“We are in the group. If we want to really fight on top, we have to be a bit better.”