Aragon appears to be something of a stronghold for Marc Marquez, who has dominated the last two editions at Motorland. Despite #93 being the obvious favourite, Andrea Dovizioso will do all he can to ruin the party. The Italian is confident ahead of the Spanish round but at the same time he knows it won't be easy to repeat the feats of Misano.
“I don't know whether we are favourites or not – begins Dovi – the last test confirmed that the bike has improved, and we already had some important clues at Misano. We had everything in line to do well at Silverstone too. If we compare things with last year, it's clear we've taken some important steps forward. So I expect to be more competitive than in 2017, though we'll have to manage the tyres well”.
Marquez nevertheless holds an advantage at Aragon.
“This is Marc's track, one of his favourites, where he hopes to win and will do everything he can to achieve that. I'm sure we'll be in the mix for the podium or even the win if we work hard”.
It appears that the Ducati is the most competitive bike right now, but this is not enough to keep Marquez from the title. A situation that is reminiscent of Formula 1, where the Ferrari, considered the strongest car, has to deal with a super Hamilton.
“I'd say that this is bar talk - it's impossible to have an answer to this. To judge a vehicle, particularly a bike, is impossible because there's more involved than with the F1 car. We're definitely improving, but I don't know if we have the best bike or not. Right now, Ducati has two riders who can win races, but it's not so simple to achieve this. I can say that the other Ducatis have grown too and moved closer, though the gap in the race is still significant”.
Dovi is then asked whether he would change anything about the previous races if he could go back in time.
"I'd do the same again at Jerez - he states- at Le Mans I made a mistake though, and at Barcelona too. Those who talk about bad luck are lying. I have nothing to hide, we're human and we make mistakes”.
The Aragon 'test' is set to be a tough one.
“It will be difficult, also because i expect Marc to do all he can to win. We both have the same time of risk. In recent years, Marquez has taken a more studied approach to the races, deciding where he needs to win or not, and he does this pre-season. It's intelligent. He learned this in 2015 and is continuing in this way. He's not obliged to win, but Marc is Marc and so he'll try”.
His rival aside, the track will also put the Italian to the test.
“There are hard braking points through the corners and you have to come off the brakes to let the bike run - concludes Dovi - this is a flowing track that doesn't suit my characteristics. I've worked to improve on this anyway."