Marquez: Dovizioso's crashes 'not normal'
Andrea Dovizioso's three crashes in the past four MotoGP races are "not normal" for the reliable Ducati rider, according to championship leader Marc Marquez.
Dovizioso crashed out while chasing after Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo in last weekend's Catalan Grand Prix, and is now left 49 points adrift of Marquez.
Winning the season-opening Qatar GP had confirmed 2017 runner-up Dovizioso's status as an '18 title favourite, but prior to his Barcelona crash he had also been collected in an incident between Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa at Jerez and then crashed out on his own at Le Mans.
"It's like when you say a name then it is opposite," said Marquez when asked if he still considered Dovizioso his main title rival.
"It is strange because Dovi, during his career his consistency is incredible.
"And now, I was checking and last four races he crashed three times.
"It is something that is not normal."
Dovizioso has endured similar rough patches earlier in his Ducati stint, both in 2015 and in '16, although technical issues had played a part in both cases.
When Marquez's comments were put to him, the Italian said: "What happened in Le Mans and here, I know very well what happened when I crashed.
"So, [it] didn't happen in a strange way. This is positive. The point is not that."
A number of MotoGP riders noted throughout the Barcelona weekend that the track lacked grip in certain places, despite the recent resurfacing.
Dovizioso, who crashed because he was "pushing too much" to stay with the leaders, said the track conditions were a factor in the outcome, as they favoured certain braking styles over others.
"We have to be a bit better in some part of the corners," he said. "We have to analyse a bit better the weekend, because every time the way you have to ride the tyres is different.
"I believe after the race, [the style of those] who brake with some slide didn't work here.
"If you look at Jorge, he braked completely straight. I think in this track with this asphalt, with the tyre we have, [this] worked because there isn't the grip, and it was very difficult to manage the slide.
"So when you're going in the race and the grip is even less, you are always on the limit of the grip."
Asked whether his confidence has taken a hit recently, Dovizioso said: "No, because we are fast. When you are fast, the confidence is there, and the bike works well."
He insisted there was a "positive way" to look at his Barcelona weekend despite the crash.
"We have a chance to improve the bike, I have a chance to improve and to have the situation more under control - especially if you have a team-mate strong like I have Jorge now.
"Another positive thing is, we are fighting for the victory. I wasn't sixth without the speed."