Rossi and Dovizioso compete on the Ducati
When Ducati decided to f ocuson Dovizioso last year to make a new start in MotoGP, after Rossi's farewell, many wondered if they had made the right choice. The rider from Forlì seemed a to0 similar rider to his predecessor, brought up on the Japanese bikes, like Rossi first with Honda, then with Yamaha and with a style too clean for Desmodieci. Not like Stoner,able to ride in a diametrically opposite way and, teorically, making him more suitable to the Reds. Furthermore, he didn't have a curriculum like his predecessor, only one victory in the premier class even if his sensitivity and testing ability is known world wide .
Dovi has surprised us, jumping rashly into a new adventure, not being demoralized by the news that he was going to start the season with the 'old' equipment, which is something that would have discouraged more than one of his collegues. He has been able to stand out in the garage, as a leader should do, without raising his voice nor giving up or complaining . The results were seen by the deserved place on the podium at Le Mans.
LET THE CHALLENGE BEGIN - It is impossible not to make a comparison with Valentino, at least from 2011, who rode a bike, very similar to the current one. Dovi, looking at the numbers, takes his first revenge in qualifying where he has always been faster than the number 46. He did great work in France, where he succeeded in putting the D16 in the first row, after having almost done it in Qatarm something the Doctor has never done.. The rider from Forli both at Le Mans and in Losail, always managed to keep the distance from the pole under half a second, another result than Valentino in the first four races of the year had never reached. An overwhelming victory, that also shows how the Doctor’s difficulty in getting the most out of his new tyre, is not limited to Yamaha or from this year only.
So, if in qualification Dovi takes control,things will be more balanced regarding the race. In Qatar, last year, Valentino Rossi had a disaster that made him really angry after the race. It went better for Andrea two months ago, but under the chequered flag the gap was too big and the position wasn't great. The Gran Prix at Jerez was Dovi's worst Gran Prix of this season so far. The final position is better than Rossi's of 12 months ago, but the distance is bigger by 8 seconds.
Finally the last race, considering it's impossible to compare a race, Austin having taken the place of Estoril. Le Mans Gran Prix was raced in the rain for the last two years, but whilst the Doctor reached the second step of the podium, Dovizioso remained at the foot of it. A good race for both, which conforms Ducati's potential on the wet, with the discriminating factor of the podium, that tips the balance in favour of Valentino and also the favourable classification ranking after the first four races. Andrea however, has little to complain about, because the final gap from the first was almost identical.
AND THE WINNER IS... - So, who will win this long-distance challenge? Actually neither of them, because it's not only a question of numbers. Dovizioso is full of motivation at the beginning of a new challenge, Rossi started to realize that his journey with the Desmosedici has come to an end. Perhaps it would be more correct to compare the "real" first four races of both of them, then the statistics would give Dovi the qualifying victory once again, Then the one in the race with the Doctor , but in that case the technical difference between the Desmodieci that has been used, would be too great.
What is sure is that Dovizioso is working hard riding the Red and the hope is that at Borgo Panigale the same thing is happening . Every rider gets on track to win, but in the long run, if the technical equipment doesn't improve, they can start to lose interest. Andrea seems to be in the best shape of his career, it would be a shame not to make the most of it.Translation of Lisa Avarello