Andrea Dovizioso says that he and his Ducati team find themselves in a “strange situation” that is making them more “relaxed” about their MotoGP title showdown with Marc Marquez.
Dovizioso came out on top in an epic wet-weather battle against Marquez last weekend at Motegi to close the gap in the championship to 11 points with three races remaining.
Ducati's last title victory came all the way back in 2007 with Casey Stoner, and Dovizioso feels the fact he is considered the underdog against Marquez is helping to keep the pressure off.
He also emphasised the fact that, even if he falls short of beating Marquez to the crown, he will still be judged to have had an excellent season, with Motegi being his fifth victory of the year.
"To fight for the championship we will have to be fast in all the remaining races," said Dovizioso. "This is the real challenge, not so much the fighting and the strategy in the races.
"I do not think we are the favourites, but I must say that we are working in a very relaxed way, because we are in a strange situation.
"If we win the championship, it's something unreal, and if we don't win it, until we now we've done a great championship.
"This helps you to work calmly and risk only when it's the right moment. This is crucial, because in MotoGP today it is the details that make the difference.
"Everything can happen. But in any case, I'm relaxed, I was relaxed before this weekend. I will try to continue in this way."
Phillip Island to favour Marquez
Dovizioso admitted that Marquez will be tough to beat this weekend at Phillip Island, a track where the Spaniard traditionally excels, but remains optimistic of a strong showing in Australia.
"For sure it will be a bit different [at Phillip Island]," he said. "It's one of Marc's favourite tracks.
"It will be difficult, because in the long left-handed corners Marc is always able to make a difference. It's his speciality and not ours.
"But last year we did a good race [finishing fourth, less than 10 seconds behind winner Cal Crutchlow], and this year we are more competitive."