Andrea Dovizioso says his pre-prepared last-lap strategy was the key as he came out on top of his thrilling last-lap battle with Marc Marquez at Motegi on Sunday.
The Italian looked set for second place entering the final stretch in Japan, but the Ducati rider was able to pull off a sensational win.
Marquez’ error on Turn 8 allowed Dovizioso to prepare an overtake move three corners later and then fight off the Spaniard’s comeback attempt as Dovizioso’s superior traction out of the final corner saw him take the chequered flag by 0.249s.
“Marc is always very aggressive, he’s always difficult to fight with,” Dovizioso said after the race.
“I was losing a little bit, maybe it wasn’t enough to try to overtake him in Turn 11 with that gap, but maybe he was pushing too much, he did a mistake, and I knew I had to do everything perfect in two corners to be ready in Turn 11.
“That was already, at the beginning of the lap, my strategy, but it was difficult because he was making a good lap time.”
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The battle was almost a recreation of their recent fight in Austria, which the Italian also won.
Dovi said the final turn approach was in his mind as soon as he had got past Marquez.
“When I overtook him in Turn 11, I already thought in Austria, I already thought the strategy in the last corner,” Dovizioso said.
“I had to try to make a wide left corner, and it was the right decision, because I close the door, because for him it was very difficult to try to overtake me. And when he did, he couldn’t change direction very fast.
“It was so exciting to win this race. To fight with Marc is always, you have a big tension, and it was also important for the championship.”
The win means Dovizioso is now just 11 points behind defending champion Marquez in the championship race with three races to go.