He is feeling confident and does not hide the fact. Andrea Dovizioso is definitely the horse to bet on in the Ducati camp, even more so after the last two seasons that saw him fighting for the title. The Italian is more than ready for 2019, a season in which he hopes to play a starring role.
“It's all a question of sensations, because I feel I'm closer to the goal I want to reach– begins Andrea – this is what I mean when I say I feel more comfortable. I know I'm in the right place, where I've worked for six years, in an environment that has allows me to achieve productive results, despite the arguments. Of course you have to battle with many aspects and it all becomes more complicated”
Andrea rounded out the 2018 season in second place.
“As I've said, what happened in 2018 was important, not only the second part of the season, but the fact it went so differently to that of previous years. We were calm and competitive despite the difficulties and that all helps to create conviction. I don't know if it's enough for 2019, but it has allowed me to enjoy a good winter. It's true that every year comes with its own story, but we have a.good base”.
Dovi returns to the term comfortable, something he often mentions in press conferences.
“Comfortable relates mainly to the fact I have positive sensations. Like when you think about something you have to do, you might be excited or worried, well I know what to expect. Inside, I can say I'm excited, because I have good understanding of the project's foundations. Right now we are preparing for the story we have to write”.
Contrary to previous season, Andrea will be the number one Ducati rider.
“Being number one or two has never had an effect on me, in the last seasons with Jorge for example, where the aim was to score the title with him. Sometimes people forget how a rider lives his life, what happens to him. In the last two years, I've continued to work and remain focused. Sometimes, the past describes a rider well, but it's not always enough, this is why being first or second rider counts for little. What I can say is that being with Ducati means having the company put its full trust in you”.
Dovi will be flanked by Danilo Petrucci this season, a rider with whom he shouldn't have any problems getting along.
“We can't know that year, but our relationship is better than what I had with Jorge. This allows us to train together and exchange opinions. It can be an added value that brings advantages. During a season, many factors can arise that have a bearing, despite him having important tool in terms of his experience. Danilo is also very open, which I consider a plus, I think he has a lot more potential than people think”.
The Italian refers back to Lorenzo, a situation that came with its problems.
“That's clear. When you have two strong riders, this is normal, these things will happen. In fact, I think it could have been worse, as it has perhaps been in the past. I think there's a different balance now compared to the past, because it's an anomaly even”.
“If you're a factory rider you cannot be affected by these things, if you feel the pressure, you're immature. It's only normal that there's pressure when you aim for something big like a world title. As I've said, I feel more comfortable because I'm focusing on my own situation rather than the general context”.
Andrea will definitely take to the starting line with greater awareness now.
“In 2017 we were not so strong, hopes were high and there were many doubts. Last year we started off the back of a strong 2018 season, but in the long-term we realised that we weren't fully there. Now I feel as if I'm in a better situation than we were one year ago, but we will have to see”.
2018 definitely came with lessons for the Italian.
“Rather than learning, I understand various things, like the bike setting. The Jerez and Le Mans crashes for instance, considering we were fighting for the title. We were suffering with the setting and I didn't have the right confidence. We understood that we needed to work in a different way, despite the limited time between one race and another. In those cases, experience is fundamental in order to improve, also because in the past I'd never made so many mistakes. As of Brno, we took a solid step forward, also because the bike grew too”.
Tracks that worry you?
“Malaysia was a terrible race, the same goes for America, Argentina and Sachsenring. But it's a different story every year”.
His mind is now on Sepang.
“We haven't changed much compared to last year and will be aligned in Malaysia. We have some interesting things to test, and will focus on different details I think. Personally I'm pleased, also because it was never a given that we'd have the new bike already at Valencia. We'll see various Ducatis on the grid and this will be useful to understand the level, also because it's difficult for one rider to stay on top for the whole time in the heat”.