Andrea Dovizioso admits he simply was not strong enough in Sunday’s Valencia Grand Prix to challenge for the win needed to keep his slim MotoGP title hopes alive.

The Ducati rider was 21 points adrift of standings leader Marc Marquez ahead of the 30lap finale in Spain, and needed to win and hope the Spaniard was finished outside of the top 11 to win the championship.

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Starting from ninth, the Italian made his way up to fifth by the end of the first lap, but could not challenge any further as he struggled to get his Desmosedici stopped.

A crash in the closing stages ended his charge, and while disappointed Dovizioso is still satisfied with runnerup spot in the standings as he knew his chances of beating Marquez were low.

“We wanted this title as much as Marc did, and I gave everything until the last lap, but I didn’t have any more cards to play,” said Dovizioso.

“I’m happy with the season. We’re happy, second in the championship is a good result.

“Today we tried until the end, but we didn’t have rhythm.

“It was difficult to win the title, but we gave everything trying to take the victory. I was over the limit trying to brake later and gain.

“I couldn’t brake that hard, I went wide (at Turn 8) and crashed.”

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On lap 13, Dovizioso‘s fourthplaced teammate Jorge Lorenzo was issued the ‘suggested mapping 8’ message from the pit wall – a coded team order to let the Italian past.

Lorenzo – who crashed at Turn 6 just before his teammate – did not move aside despite the team’s insistence, though Dovizioso was not upset with the Spaniard as he was able to learn where he was losing out.

“I was faster at the start, but then following Jorge helped me – we ride in a different way and I could learn a few things from him that I was missing here.

“We tried. The important thing is that we were also competitive here in Valencia.

“I think it would have been difficult even if Marquez had crashed – I don’t think we had the rhythm to win.

“Thank you to the team and Ducati. We have to be happy and take the positives from the season.”