Expectations were high for these two days of testing at Mugello with Aprilia, not only for MotoGP fans but also for Andrea Dovizioso. Unfortunately, the weather was not mild, offering Dovi only a handful of dry laps on the first day. At this point, a third test seems almost predictable in the near future at Misano.
Despite the rain, the rider from Forlì was still happy with this second time on the RS-GP, as he told us in an exclusive interview you can watch in the video above.
“First of all, I’m pleased to be at Mugello, because it’s truly a unique track,” Dovizioso commented. “Feeling the desire to go to a circuit because it gives you something special is not that simple, so it was nice. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side. Yesterday morning I did two dry half-rides. It was enough to test the new riding position, and I immediately felt better. Otherwise, we only rode on the wet asphalt. We used the time to improve our sensations, which was important for Aprilia, because they hadn’t yet tried the MotoGP in wet conditions. Also, there’s very little grip here, so it was a real test.”
How’s the Aprilia doing with the rain?
“You always make comparisons. Today, Michele Pirro was on the track, and he’s an excellent reference. I think we were quite in line.”
Has the ergonomics on the RS-GP improved in anyway?
“Some things you understand only when you push on dry asphalt and, unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance. Aprilia did a great job in changing some important pieces in such a short time, and it wasn’t easy at all. I was able to feel the difference, but until you reach certain times, you can’t get complete information.”
At this point, you'll have to go to Misano for another test...
“That’s possible. Likely. But we haven’t talked yet. I’m not inviting myself,” he said laughing.
You can see you’re having fun.
“This year is quite special. I’m having time that I hadn’t had in the last nineteen years, and it’s nice. Hearing that Aprilia wants to know my feedback, my experience on other bikes, is nice. You get the chance to be on a MotoGP bike and be listened to. It’s something that suits me and them too. We’ll see. At the moment, it’s too early to organize something. I think there’s a chance we’ll do some tests at Misano because they already have them planned. We’ll talk about it.”
Then one things leads to another and maybe they’ll even get a wild card. That's the latest catchphrase.
“I’m happy, everyone is asking me to return, but it’s strange to see so many articles since Aprilia and I still haven't spoken.”
Watching the first races of the year on TV, did you miss not being on the grid?
“Not that much at first, because the last two seasons weren’t that fun, and getting out of a situation like that doesn’t make you feel bad. However, since there have been two tests and two races in Qatar, a track where I’ve always done well, you feel like it would have been nice to be there. Other than that, I’m not doing too badly because, what I’m doing, having fun with motocross, fills my week, not just Sundays. If you want to improve, motocross forces you to stay on the bike three or four times a week, and organizing training around Italy is very demanding, both mentally and physically.”
Now we need a prediction for Le Mans.
“I haven’t been understanding anything since last year, and I was there too, so I struggle even more now,” he said laughing. "Honestly, it’ll depend a lot on the conditions, and we’ll have to see if Quartararo will have solved his forearm problem. If so, we’ll be able to play the game. The Suzukis are an enigma. They have the opportunity to fight for the podium in all races, but Rins threw away two, and Mir took home the result even when he wasn’t competitive. Just a little more confidence, like what happened last year, is enough to play it out in all the races.”
And the Ducatis?
“It is a particularly good time for them. Jack responded with a great victory after three bad races, and Pecco, at the moment, is the most substantial one. In the sense that he’s riding well and, above all, he’s working well on the weekend. At the right moments, he’s ahead and, when it’s not important, he thinks about the race. That pays off.”
Then there’s Aprilia.
“Aleix is doing really well. I’m curious to see what they’ll do in the next races, because Espargarò is really strong on some tracks, and the first three were very good for him but, at the same time, this bike has improved. The next GPs will tell us something more important.”