Ducati MotoGP Andrea Dovizioso Interview

MotoGP championship contender wins spectacular shootouts in Austria

andrea dovizioso red bull ring race action
Andrea Dovizioso, Grand Prix von Österreich 2017Courtesy of Ducati Team

Ducati put on the wings and Andrea Dovizioso made the miracle. For those who were not convinced that Dovizioso is championship material, the 31-year-old Italian flexed his muscles—even showing his claws—to win a breathtaking head-to head battle on Sunday at the Red Bull Ring in Austria with MotoGP points leader Marc Marquez.

Regarded by many as the good boy next door, the perfect teammate for his honesty to recognize his limits and skill to analyze each racetrack, Dovizioso finally put on his boxing gloves, taking revenge for a difficult loss last year in which he was outfoxed by former teammate Andrea Iannone.

Last season, Ducati had an advantage thanks in part to its now-outlawed fairing wings, but this year victory was not taken for granted. On the contrary, pole-sitter Marquez and his Repsol Honda were favored. Ducati compensated by introducing a revolutionary new fairing with integrated winglets and developed a bike capable of performing well on soft tires.

The result? Dovizioso is now a real threat for this year’s title with a solid second place in the points standings, 16 behind championship leader Marquez but with an equal number of victories.

I have never seen you battle with such determination.

I really wanted this win. I knew very well my strong points, and I tried to take advantage when it was possible and compensate for what we were losing in the two left corners. I’m still a good boy, but with muscles. I had them also before, but now I use them differently and most of all now I am more aware of my potential. I remained very calm despite the adrenaline of the last laps.

andrea dovizioso celebrates motogp victory
Andrea Dovizioso, Grand Prix von Österreich 2017Courtesy of Ducati Team

What was the winning key?

Tire choice was crucial. We understood that the Michelins have to be interpreted in a different way. There is no more a soft, medium, or hard option. Each tire has three-to-four different compounds, so we need to analyze all the details, the temperatures, and follow new paths. In qualifying, we were not afraid of using the medium compounds instead of the soft, and in the race, we chose the soft, although our direct competitors went for harder options because of the hot track temperature [113 degrees Fahrenheit]. Marc and I saved the tires for the first half of the race. Doing this, we also saved fuel, and I had no problems with fuel consumption. Then, in the last lap, I gave it all.

Did you expect Marquez’s attack on the last lap?

He had already tried to pass me in the penultimate corner, but I closed the door. I didn’t exit very well, and he came close. He prepared the entry of the last corner better than I did. I could hear him, but there was actually no space for Marc to pass. If I closed the door, we could have both gone wide or crashed, so I braked hard but left the door open. He did try to pass, but I was faster and finally succeeded to be the first to the checkered flag.

Courtesy of Ducati Team
Andrea Dovizioso, Grand Prix von Österreich 2017andrea dovizioso red bull ring race action

What was then your gesture to Marc after the pass?

I was angry because there was actually no space to pass, and after a perfect race, we could have risked to throw everything away. But I made it, and I’m really happy. I was surprised by how lucid I was despite the adrenaline pulsing inside me. That gesture meant [screw] you, and also that I fooled you.

What did you discover of yourself in this ultimate head-to-head duel?

That I can win in MotoGP [laughing]. Thanks also to the victories of Mugello and Barcelona, I’m more aware of my potential. I’m here to fight for the title, and I feel I’m able to do it.

andrea dovizioso celebrates victory with team
Andrea Dovizioso, Grand Prix von Österreich 2017Courtesy of Ducati Team

Last year, you were angry with second place. This year, you won in a superb way.

Last year, I was so disappointed because I felt that win as mine after having worked so hard with Ducati. This year is so important for the championship as we are fighting for the title. I wouldn’t swap them.

To whom did you dedicate this special victory?

The rider doesn’t win alone. This victory is the result of all the people in Ducati, on track, and at home. It’s the sum of every detail. I also do my part, working hard, training, improving my approach, my mentality. It’s a success of all of us.

You are now second in the championship. Is the title chase a question between you and Marquez?

We have both won three races, but the championship is still open, and we are five riders in the title chase. We need to face one race at the time, one practice at the time. Next is the Misano test scheduled for Tuesday—the last test day we have available. It will be crucial to prepare for Silverstone, a very demanding and physical track, and Misano.

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