Andrea Dovizioso scored his first MotoGP points since 2020 with 13th place in his second race appearance for Petronas Yamaha, at COTA on Sunday.
Last on the grid at Misano, the Italian qualified a competitive 14th in Texas, only for a bad start to leave him 17th on the opening lap.
Despite having the lowest top speed from his 2019-spec machine, Dovizioso weaved his way to twelfth by the midway stage, then spent the rest of the race in a battle for that position with Alex Marquez, which the LCR Honda rider narrowly won.
The triple title runner-up also halved the 42-second gap to Quartararo from Misano, but knows there is much more ‘margin’ to improve.
“For sure [I understand the Yamaha more] because I’m much faster than Misano,” Dovizioso said. “But I still think there is margin [to improve], because Fabio is doing something crazy, Fabio is so fast. By far. So this means there is margin.
“For sure I have a different bike [to him] so I don’t know the difference exactly and how much, but the difference he is doing is big, so this means there is margin[for me to improve].
“I feel better, much better, I’m in the group. In the end, I finished 13th, but I started almost last.
“I almost [stalled] the engine at the start and lost a lot of positions. I released the clutch, but it engaged more than what it normally engages, so the RPM went down a lot. So I couldn’t accelerate.
“I’m disappointed because I was able to fight to be in the top 10, and when I don’t do the maximum, I’m not happy. But the improvement from Misano is huge, this is what we have to do. So overall it was a good week.
“It was nice to make a completely different experience, about the layout of the track, the bumps. So at the end, it was good. For sure it is a bit more clear for me how the Yamaha works.”
Dovizioso will now aim to continue his ascension up the timesheets during MotoGP’s second visit to Misano later this month.