'DesmoDovi’ has disappeared and the word 'undaunted' has appeared in its place. It’s a quality of those who don’t allow themselves to be beaten, but who always manage to be calm and self-possessed. This is the Dovizioso who emerged at the start of 2020, aware of having come close to Marquez for three years in a row, but without being able to overtake him.
The restyling also includes his helmet - the two horses (black and white, symbols of reason and instinct) have given way to a Pegasus, like the helmet of one of the Knights of the Zodiac, Andrea's childhood cartoon favourite. These are the external changes, but the internal ones are the most important.
What Dovizioso will we see this year?
"I feel more relaxed and calmer than at the beginning of 2019, I try to live the day as much as I can. Throughout my career I have always focused a lot on myself, I started training in mid-December, I changed some things, I know that I can improve, and I am focused on doing that. "
You need it when Marquez is on the other side of the ring.
“On paper Marc is the favourite, he did something incredible last year, he won the championship with a big advantage and he was the fastest rider in almost every race. But nobody is unbeatable, you have to start with this mentality and try".
Why didn't you manage to do it last year?
“Because, as I said, Marc was the fastest rider and when that happens it is difficult to beat him no matter how hard you try to find the right strategy. I don't think our approach last year was wrong."
How can you cause him problems?
“First of all, you have to be faster, I mean I don't know how, but improve the Ducati and also myself. Then we must continue to work well in the box as we have done so far and then improve the weak points. For example, last year I struggled in qualifying, and with the current level of MotoGP you can't afford to start behind."
What does it mean to finish second for three years in a row?
"On the one hand you are satisfied to have been the only one to fight against Marc, but that’s not enough because when you race you understand what you can be better at. As a sportsman it is nice, and you are lucky to be in this situation because it allows you to progress. Seeing certain results after a lot of work was a real pleasure, so I can say that I'm happy enough, because you should never be too happy. "
What do you expect from this season?
“I don't think it makes sense or is useful to think about it now. Marquez is the favourite on paper, but there are five or six riders able to fight for the title, for example Viñales and Quartararo who will start much more convinced than in 2019. As always, everyone has a lot of question marks at the moment and thinking too much about how to win is wrong at this moment."
Not even thinking about the future? Your contract is expiring.
“Like everyone's. I don't know what will happen in 2021, the market is totally open, so everything or nothing could change, but it doesn't affect me. Ducati and I know each other well, it's not a problem. The only thing that really matters is the results on the track, those really make a difference."
Don’t you have any expectations?
"I finished the 2018 season very competitive, but then in 2019 things went differently. This is why I don't want to have expectations, I just want to do my best, feel comfortable. I know that the winter tests could affect the whole season."
You already tried a GP20 prototype at the end of 2019.
"Yes, but it wasn't the definitive bike and we don't have it yet. For this reason, the Sepang tests will be important to define it, even if I know that other innovations are also in the pipeline. There will be no major changes and we will have to be good enough and smart enough to make the right choices. We are talking about fine-tuning and details, but they can make a big difference."
What will you focus on particularly?
“The tyres, because they have a big influence on everything. Everyone liked the new tyres brought by Michelin, because they have more grip, but it is one thing to try them in the tests, another to do the race. We will only see the reality of the facts in Qatar".
Are you looking forward to it?
"I think the engineers have worked particularly well in these months and I have done the same too. I’m relaxed, trust me ".