Ducati pair convinced team can reduce its deficit to MotoGP rivals

Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso are convinced Ducati will continue to close the gap to Honda and Yamaha when MotoGP returns to Europe later this month

Ducati pair convinced team can reduce its deficit to MotoGP rivals

The riders have one podium finish each from the first three races, but should have more.

Iannone crashed out of the lead pack in the Qatar season opener, then took both Ducati riders out at the penultimate corner of the Argentina race, before Dovizioso was collected by Dani Pedrosa in the United States last Sunday.

Ducati started last year strongly, with Dovizioso and Iannone second and third in the standings after 2015's first three flyaways, but they faded to finish the year seventh and fifth respectively.

Both are buoyed by the progress Ducati has made with its 2016 bike, and believe there is more to come, as it chases a first MotoGP race win since October 2010.

"We try to improve and try to close a little bit the gap," Iannone said.

"It's a lot, 11 seconds [the deficit to victor Marc Marquez at Austin], but we focus on the future and the Europe races, to close the gap to Marc and Jorge [Lorenzo].

"I think in Qatar we had very good potential and in [Austin] the Honda is very strong, also Marc, but we will try to close the gap and try to win."

The incidents with Iannone and Pedrosa cost Dovizioso two podium finishes in seven days.

Dovizioso started 2015 with three consecutive second-place finishes, but only visited the podium on two more occasions over the remaining 15 races.

He says that the pace of this year's Desmosedici gives him confidence, even if the results have not come.

"In three different races, in very difficult situations to manage for the tyres, we have always been able to fight for the podium," Dovizioso said.

"We could have been second in the championship just a few points behind Marquez, so from this point of view I am very pleased with the work that we are doing.

"Even when we are not so fast in practice, in the race we always manage to be competitive: this is the way a factory rider has to race when he is thinking about the championship."

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