Dovizioso plays down gap to leaders

Andrea Dovizioso is relaxed about Honda's deficit to the leaders in Thursday practice at Assen, as he believes the bike is quick enough to match Ducati and Yamaha once a front end issue is resolved

Dovizioso plays down gap to leaders

The Italian, who is currently Jorge Lorenzo's nearest rival in the championship, was only fifth today, and explained that a recurrent front end stability problem had held him back.

"The front closes at the last part as you brake, and also as you open the throttle in the corner, the front is moving," Dovizioso said.

"So it's difficult to enter fast and exit, so I couldn't push. So I'm not worried about the gap - if we find a way to improve [that issue], we will be fast. We will see the true pace tomorrow morning."

But he is confident that Honda will be competitive once it fixes the problem.

"I'm not worried about the gap that we have," he said. "This problem we've had in some races this year but last year almost every time, and this year the situation is much better and sometimes doesn't come up.

"If we find this problem, I think we could have been fast already today, because at the end I couldn't push to be fast."

However his team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who was one place further back, was more frustrated with the bike's performance.

"Not so good," he said. "In general the setting [is the problem] - we struggled with the front and with the rear. We have to try other things."

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